Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Cape Town – Stormers hooker Tiaan Liebenberg has climbed to
joint-top of the charts for most turnovers in Super Rugby after Week 13.
The burly Liebenberg, following his team’s latest,
hard-earned victory over the Waratahs at Newlands, heads the statistics in that
category alongside Tom McCartney, who also wears the No 2 shirt for the ailing
Blues – they have reportedly executed 29 turnovers each.
Another hooker, Springbok Bismarck du Plessis, who put in a
big showing for the Sharks in their Bloemfontein triumph over the Cheetahs
despite getting another 10 minutes in the sin bin, lies joint fourth on 26 with
the Highlanders’ ever-industrious flank Adam Thomson and, interestingly, a less
likely customer in Bulls fullback Zane Kirchner.
The stats are issued weekly by Australian newspaper the
Sydney Morning Herald.
What the latest figures do appear to indicate is that South
African teams in the competition, generally speaking, still favour fairly
conservative, kicking-conscious game plans.
The highest-placed South African player for “most run
metres”, for example, lies in eighth spot – it is the bottom-placed Lions’
versatile backline player Jaco Taute (736m). All of the top seven slots are
occupied by New Zealanders.
Bulls flyhalf Morne Steyn, by contrast, continues to boss
most of the various kicking categories, including most tournament points with
He has also been responsible for “most kicks” (112) with the
Stormers’ fullback Joe Pietersen, who is often engaged in bouts of tactical
ping-pong with rival kickers, next on 107.
For most kick metres, these two also head up proceedings: Steyn
with 4,726m and Pietersen with 4,274.
There are also three South Africans among the top five for
most tackles thus far: Marcell Coetzee of the Sharks is third with 168, the
Stormers’ Siya Kolisi fourth (155) and Cheetahs’ Heinrich Brussow fifth (151).
The leaders here are Matt Todd of the Crusaders (178) and
Western Force captain David Pocock (176).
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