15 April 2019, by: Carl Lewis
SA Super Rugby Side of the Decade
Using stats from Opta, Super Rugby has selected the best South Africa Super Rugby side of the last decade.
There has been no SA Super Rugby champions since the Bulls in 2010 but there have been five losing finalists. This includes the Lions heart-breaking three-in-a-row losses in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
It should come as no surprise that the Lions dominate this team but there also the same number of Stormers. Plus the Lions also have the player of the decade (according to Opta)in their ranks, Elton Jantjies.
Below we list the team and the reasons provided for their selection. What are your thoughts on the team?
15: Andries Coetzee – Lions
Made the third most carries (868) metres gained (5,464) and defenders beaten (243) of any fullback in the last 10 years of Super Rugby and the most of any South African fullbac5 in all three categories.
14: Dillyn Leyds – Stormers
Made 602 carries for 3,711 metres gained, while only three South African backs have made more clean breaks than Leyds (93) in the last decade of Super Rugby.
13: Jesse Kriel – Bulls
Kriel is the only centre in the last four seasons of Super Rugby to score a try in four consecutive games; he’s scored 19 tries in total across the last decade – only Bjorn Basson (29) has scored more for the Bulls in this period.
12: Damien de Allende – Stormers
Beaten the second most defenders (252) of any South African back in the last 10 years of Super Rugby from his 831 carries; de Allende has also made 547 tackles – the third most of any back from his country.
11: Courtnall Skosan – Lions
Scored the second most tries (35) and made the third most clean breaks (103) of any South African back in the last decade of Super Rugby; Skosan also made 477 carries for 3,313 metres gained.
10: Elton Jantjies – Lions – Player of the Decade
Scored the second most points (1,145) of any player in Super Rugby in the last 10 years; Jantjies also made the third-most try assists (59) of any player while gaining the most metres (2,902) and making the most clean breaks (50) of any South African No. 10.
9: Louis Schreuder – Stormers/Kings/Sharks
Played the most minutes (4,808) of any South African scrum-half in the last decade of Super Rugby, with only one such player making more than Schreuder’s 29 try assists; he also made 310 carries and beat 62 defenders.
8: Warren Whiteley – Lions
Made the second most offloads (77) of any South African forward in the last 10 years of Super Rugby; Whiteley has also made the most tackles (855) and second most clean breaks (46) of any No.8 in this period.
7: Jean-Luc du Preez – Sharks
Made the second most carries (373) and metres gained (980) of any South African No.7 in Super Rugby in the last decade; du Preez also beat the third most defenders (88) of any No. 7 overall in this time.
6: Siya Kolisi – Stormers
Only two South African forwards have gained more metres than Kolisi (2,100) from his 624 carries in the last decade in Super Rugby; he also made the second most clean breaks (53) of any forward from his country.
5: Pieter-Steph du Toit – Sharks/Stormers
Beat the most defenders (69) of any South African lock in Super Rugby in the last 10 years from his 459 carries, du Toit also won 26 turnovers and made 42 offloads.
4: Franco Mostert – Lions
Gained the most metres (1,055) of any South African lock in Super Rugby in the last decade from his 540 carries; Mostert also stole 33 lineouts and made the most tackles (697) of any South African player in his position.
3: Frans Malherbe – Stormers
Malherbe made 597 tackles, won 21 turnovers and made 230 carries for 363 metres gained.
2: Malcolm Marx – Lions
Scored the second most tries (30) of any forward in Super Rugby in the last 10 years; Marx also won the most turnovers (80) of any hooker and had the second most successful lineout throws (598) of any South African No. 2.
1: Steven Kitshoff – Stormers
Won the most lineout throws (35) of any prop in Super Rugby in the last decade, while only one South African prop made more clean breaks than Kitshoff (13).
How does the Opta Index work?
The Opta Index allows genuine opportunities to compare and contrast both player and team strengths and weaknesses across Super Rugby, providing real insights pre-game as follows:
After every match Opta completes a video analysis of every touch of the ball. Each action in the match is awarded a points value depending on the relative importance of the action. So for example, a try scores more points than a tackle, but a player loses points for a missed tackle.
The points are then weighted against the score at the time when the action took place (higher points if the score is closer), the time in the match (higher points at the start of the match) and the position on the pitch where it took place (higher points for actions closer to the goal line).
The player is then given a score for the match by adding up all his actions while he was on the field. The total match score is then weighted to take account of the strength of the opposition so that performances across many matches can be judged fairly.