Super Rugby top performers: Round 1

Date published: February 28 2017

Scrolling through the statistics from Opta, we pick out the standout players from Round 1 of Super Rugby 2017.

Top tackler – Jacques Potgieter (Bulls) and Philip van der Walt (Sharks)

A tie after the first weekend with two South Africans tied on 18 tackles following Round 1. Potgieter and Van der Walt impressively both missed no tackles either, although both of their efforts came in defeats to the Stormers and Reds respectively.

Most metres and clean breaks – Vince Aso (Hurricanes)

Aso was a late call-up for Cory Jane and he certainly took his chance with both hands, as the Sunwolves’ lack of time working on their defensive strategy cost them dearly in the Hurricanes’ rout.

Aso made the most metres of any players – 164 – and also topped the category for clean breaks with six. He might just start next week.

Top points scorer – Fred Zeilinga (Cheetahs)

A valiant effort in a losing cause from Zeilinga, whose reliability off the kicking tee was a large reason why the Cheetahs pushed the Lions so hard in Bloemfontein.

Zeilinga kicked six penalties and a conversion to finish with 20 points, and he could have had more had it not been for two misses.

Sharpshooter – Ihaia West (Blues)

Combining the kicker with the most attempts and highest success rate, Ihaia West’s eight out of nine kicks included two penalties and six conversions as the Blues ran riot in Melbourne, finishing on 89 percent. One missed conversion cost him a perfect record.

Most defenders beaten – Waisake Naholo (Highlanders)

Naholo carried on where he left off from last season with another blistering performance, which makes it even stranger that the Highlanders butchered so many scoring chances against the Chiefs, ultimately ending in defeat. Naholo beat ten defenders overall.

Top lineout performer – Jack Dempsey (Waratahs)

Relying off their set-piece in a scrappy win over the Force, young back-row Dempsey played a pivotal role for the Waratahs and finished with an impressive nine lineout takes.

Top try scorer – Rieko Ioane (Blues)

In our Hot section this week as well as the centrepiece of Team of the Week, we wouldn’t be overstepping the mark to suggest that Ioane had a sensational opening round.

Not only was he narrowly behind Aso in the metres and clean breaks categories, but he scored a hat-trick in the rout of the Rebels to give the Blues a sensational start.

Make sure to keep these players in mind when picking your XV ahead of the next round of our Super Rugby Fantasy game with SuperBru.