Scrolling through the statistics from Opta, we pick out the standout players from Round 7 of Super Rugby 2017.
Top tackler – Michael Wells (Waratahs)
It was a horrible start for the Waratahs in Wellington, no doubt about it, but Daryl Gibson will have taken plenty of heart from how his side clawed their way back into the contest after the break. Wells’ contribution played a major role in that, topping the tackle count for the weekend with 17 as the young Waratahs back-row led the way for his side.
Top carrier – Kotaro Matsushima (Sunwolves)
The Japan international back made his long-awaited debut for the Sunwolves in Super Rugby last weekend, having joined from the Melbourne Rebels, and was full of energy as ever, making a remarkable 20 carries for the side in their one-point win over the Bulls. Head coach Flio Tiatia can’t ask for more energy than that, even if a strip proved costly for Travis Ismaiel’s try.
Most metres – Dane Haylett-Petty (Force)
This spot looked all but signed and sealed for the Brumbies’ Aidan Toua after his best game for the Brumbies against the Reds, but key Force performer Haylett-Petty was enormous for his side as ever in Sunday’s win over the Kings, racking up 157 metres in an impressive attacking performance which also saw him grab a try.
Most defenders beaten – Wes Goosen (Hurricanes)
No Julian Savea, no problem. Goosen impressed in Savea’s absence towards the end of the last season and was at it again last Friday up against the Waratahs. South African-born Goosen offers a substantially different threat in terms of size to Savea but he stepped his way out of trouble brilliantly in Round 7, beating a very impressive nine defenders.
Most clean breaks – Wes Goosen (Hurricanes), Bernard Foley (Waratahs)
Two players from the same Round 7 fixture, which tells you just how open the clash between the Hurricanes and Waratahs really was as both sides piled up the metres. Goosen’s praises have already been sung above, and along with Foley both players made five clean breaks. Foley feels more important to any Waratahs’ success this season than ever before after a dismal start, and shone again last weekend.
Top points scorer – Marty Banks (Highlanders)
Huge performance off the kicking tee for Banks on Saturday, as his tally of 16 points gave the Highlanders the edge against the Blues. Banks kicked two conversions and four penalties and crucially is yet to miss a kick this season for the 2015 champions, landing an impressive 19 out of 19 so far. Lima Sopoaga’s return from injury will give Tony Brown an interesting dilemma.
Top try scorer – Malcolm Jaer (Kings)
The Kings rapid full-back played a prominent role in the highest scoring match of the weekend as Jaer finished with three tries against the Force in Perth, although his efforts were in vain after the home side rallied. He showed impressive speed to burn around Haylett-Petty as Jaer takes his tally for the year to five scores.
Top lineout performer – RG Snyman (Bulls)
Horrible result for the Bulls in Singapore but Snyman was a standout performer, making our Team of the Week, and finishing the weekend with the best lineout stats after six takes and one steal against the Sunwolves in Tokyo. Scott Fardy of the Brumbies and Ruan Lerm of the Kings were not far behind.
Most turnovers – Siya Kolisi (Stormers), Chris Cloete (Kings)
Two of the form back-rows right now in South Africa, and two players who have appeared in these articles in the past as well, as both came away from the weekend with three turnovers to their name. Kolisi excelled in an all-action performance against the Chiefs, while Cloete has been a revelation for the Kings this year since finally getting his big Super Rugby break.
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.