The first three rounds of the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific have featured some spectacular rugby, including breathtaking tries, massive upsets, and much more.
Planet Rugby takes a closer look at the players who are crucial to the exciting rugby on display, as well as who leads the pack in the respective individual statistics category.
Chiefs defender Shaun Stevenson’s star continues to rise as he leads the competition with five tries in the first three games. The speedster’s free running ability and spatial awareness are impressive, as he makes try scoring look effortless and natural.
Read More :: NZ vs SA Rugby game
Interestingly, despite having the most tries, Stevenson blanked in the first round before responding with a hat-trick in round two and a brace in round three.
Runners-up: Reds star Jordan Petaia leads the way with four tries, while a slew of other stars have three, including Waratahs teenage sensation Max Jorgensen, who scored a brace on debut in round one.
Fly-half for the Waratahs Tane Edmed leads the points scorers category with 40 points, thanks to a true masterclass against the Fijian Drua, in which the New South Wales prodigy scored 18 points in a big win for his team.
The 22-year-old came into his own on the Super Rugby Pacific stage last season, earning selection for Australia ‘A,’ and he looks to be kicking on in 2023 with so much to play for in a World Cup year.
The Barrett brothers are close behind the Waratahs, with Jordie on 38 points and Beauden on 35, while Chiefs’ Damin McKenzie and versatile Rebel Reece Hodge both have 34 points.
One for the grafters and grinders of the rugby world, with tireless Blues skipper Dalton Papali’i leading the way with 48 tackles in three games!
It’s an outstanding performance from a player who sets a good example every time he steps onto the field, as he did during the Blues’ run to the final last season. The openside flanker has thoroughly enjoyed his captaincy role and has elevated his game as a result.
Runners-up: Crusaders workhorse Tom Christie has 45 tackles, while the Reds’ Harry Wilson and the Brumbies’ Rory Scott have 43 and 41, respectively Super Rugby.
While Wilson was near the top in tackles made, the Wallaby highlights his value on both sides of the ball with the most carries (39).
A high work rate with the ball in hand has become a pillar of his game, and team decision-makers can rely on the number eight to relentlessly take the ball up and into contact as they manage the game.
Super Rugby Most defenders beaten
Timoci Tavatavanawai of Moana Pasifika dominates this category, having defeated 26 defenders, ten more than the next closest player.
The superstar is no stranger to this category, having led the way last season with 73 defenders defeated. Tavatavanawai, on the other hand, has the potential to outperform him by 2022 and looks truly electrifying with the ball in hand.
Runners-up: Blues star Mark Telea has defeated 16 defenders, which may come as a surprise given his outstanding performance against the Highlanders in the first round. Stevenson has also defeated 16 opponents so far.
While Stevenson is currently second in defenders beaten, he leads the charge in running metres with 407 metres carried with the ball in hand.
The sum of tries scored, defenders defeated, and running metres clearly shows that the 26-year-old is at the peak of his attacking powers and is arguably the most dangerous player in the competition so far.
Runners-up: Brumby Tom Wright comes in second with 377 metres, as the star is always looking to make something happen with the ball in hand. Sotutu is right behind the backline stars with 352 meters, while Telea has 320 meters.
Despite his 31-year-old age, the second-row only rose through the ranks and made his Super Rugby Pacific debut in 2022, but he appears to be a key component of Melbourne’s set-piece operation.