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    Stats back Le Roux's flair

    2014-04-23 15:42
    Cape Town - Springbok and Cheetahs fullback Willie le Roux features in the Top 5 in almost every Vodacom Super Rugby statistical category.

    But Le Roux must look to patch up his defensive deficiencies if he wants to be a certainty for Springbok selection this year.

    Le Roux had a stratospheric 2013 which culminated in his selection for the Springboks and winning the SARU Player's Player of the Year Award.

    Most critics agreed that Le Roux added an 'X-factor' to the Springbok backline and gave them an attacking dimension that they otherwise lacked.

    The 24-year-old has been given free rein in the Boks and Cheetahs set-up to go with his attacking instincts and demonstrate his attacking flair, which he has done with aplomb.

    As of Week 10 of Super Rugby, Le Roux leads the Super Rugby stats* with most carries, most metres gained and the third highest offload count in the competition, he is also in the Top 10 list in the clear breaks category, clearly demonstrating his willingness to attack and his ability to create opportunities for those around him.

    However, Le Roux also has one unenviable stat to his name: he has missed the fourth most tackles of any player thus far in the competition.

    Last year, Le Roux was a rock on defence, both for the Springboks and the Cheetahs, finishing well outside the unwanted accolade of the list of the 20 worst tacklers in Super Rugby.

    Admittedly, Le Roux hasn't been helped by the Cheetahs' tendency to kick possession away, let their opposition control possession and rely on their defence to get them out of trouble, with most Cheetahs players having to make more tackles than the average Super Rugby team, but on the other hand his positive statistics are also boosted by the fact that the Cheetahs rely heavily on him to create attacking opportunities.

    However, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer asks a lot of his Springbok team defensively and he will expect Le Roux to improve his defensive effort for the rest of the season if he hopes to retain his place as the first-choice Springbok fullback in this year's Rugby Championship.

    Willie le Roux's relevant stats:

    Kicks from hand:

    105: Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes)
    87: Willie le Roux (Cheetahs)
    79: Jesse Mogg (Brumbies)
    72: Will Genia (Reds)
    69: Marnitz Boshoff (Lions)

    Metres run:

    789: Willie le Roux (Cheetahs)
    597: Jesse Mogg (Brumbies)
    584: Julian Savea (Hurricanes)
    562: Charles Piutau (Blues)
    519: Jason Woodward (Rebels)

    Clean breaks:

    11: Alapati Leiua (Hurricanes)
    11: Israel Folau (Waratahs)
    11: Julian Savea (Hurricanes)
    9: Ryan Crotty (Crusaders)
    8: Willie le Roux

    Carries:

    105: Willie le Roux (Cheetahs)
    97: Charles Piutau (Blues)
    91: Ben Smith (Highlanders)
    89: Jesse Mogg (Brumbies)
    86: Israel Dagg (Crusaders)

    Offloads:

    18: Israel Folau (Waratahs)
    16: Quade Cooper (Reds)
    15: Willie le Roux (Cheetahs)
    15: Faf de Klerk (Lions)
    15: Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Chiefs)

    Missed tackles:

    17: Aaron Smith (Highlanders)
    16: Stefan Watermeyer (Lions)
    15: Nic White (Brumbies)
    14: Willie le Roux (Cheetahs)
    14: Johan Goosen (Cheetahs)

    * Stats obtained from the Vodacom Rugby Stats App.

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