Currie Cup

WP: Runaway tackle kings

2014-08-26 23:15
Nizaam Carr (Gallo Images)
Cape Town – The more things change, the more they stay the same?

Western Province may have perked up their offensive play immeasurably this year, which goes a long way to explaining why they currently top the Absa Currie Cup table, but they still make an extraordinary number of tackles.

Industrious and well-organised defence was a key feature of their strong (though trophy-less) showing in Super Rugby as the Stormers for several recent seasons, and little has changed on that front if latest Currie Cup statistics are a yardstick.

The blue-and-white-stripes may be increasingly lethal on the counter-attack and from broken play, but the stats still firmly indicate that they are not a consistently “front-foot” side.

Province players --- including their three first-choice loose forwards thus far – occupy all of the top four berths in the Vodacom-provided stats for most tackles made after three rounds of the domestic competition.

A total of six WP players monopolise spots in the top 10 on that front, with room only for a solitary representative of each of the Pumas, Cheetahs, Sharks and EP Kings to make up the tally.

Head of the pack is in-form No 8 Nizaam Carr (70 tackles), followed by team-mates Siya Kolisi (60), Jean Kleyn (59) and Michael Rhodes (57).

The first non-Province player to get a look-in is Pumas flank Corne Steenkamp (56) in fifth spot, followed by Tienie Burger (Cheetahs, 45), veteran Jacques Botes (Sharks, 44) and Shane Gates (EP Kings, 42).

But there is a final burst of WP representation in ninth and 10th spots with Stephan Coetzee (41) and Alistair Vermaak (40) also showing up well for defensive donkey-work.

Promising, 21-year-old lock Kleyn managed the most personal tackles of round three alone – when Province beat the Golden Lions 27-14 at Newlands – with a phenomenal 28 if the figures are accurate.

While the WP numbers are clearly very impressive, the jury will probably be out on whether such an exhausting tackle count is sustainable until they prove it can be accompanied by trophy success at the end of the competition.

It has often been suggested that the Stormers’ formerly, unashamedly defensive approach in Super Rugby was behind the injury hoodoo that all too often plagued them as they just came up short of scooping the top prize two or three times.

WP coach Allister Coetzee noted after the Lions triumph last weekend that his nationwide top tackler Carr is due a break -- though smart money suggests he will press him into service against fierce old foes the Blue Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday and then consider giving him time off when the Kings travel to Cape Town a week later.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    wp  |  currie cup  |  nizaam carr  |  allister coetzee  |  cape town  |  rugby

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Sport Talk

Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Your thoughts on the Currie Cup being cut to a one-round tournament in 2018?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.