Augustus enters Bok No.8 debate with eye-catching stats
STAT ATTACK: There has been a debate going on about South Africa’s No.8 options heading into the 2023 World Cup.
Duane Vermeulen and Jasper Wiese are currently the main options in the Bok squad.
After an impressive season for Leicester in the Premiership, Wiese has started at No.8 in three of the Boks’ five Tests so far in 2022.
Vermeulen, who represented Ulster in the 2021/2022 United Rugby Championship, is a veteran. However, his age is a concern for many fans, especially after his last performance.
After the 36-year-old recovered from the knee surgery he had in June, he was thrown into the starting line-up against the All Blacks at Ellis Park in Round Two of the Rugby Championship and he produced a poor performance. He was replaced by Wiese after 35 after minutes.
However, Bok coach Jacques Nienaber made it clear that Vermeulen is still in his plans for next year’s World Cup in France.
There is also Evan Roos, who was the best player in the inaugural United Rugby Championship season.
However, he has only featured once so far for the Boks this year and he was left out of their tour squad to Australia.
There is another No.8 that has seemingly fallen off the Bok radar and that is former Stormers bruiser Juarno Augustus.
The 24-year-old produced some eye-catching performances to help Northampton Saints to a top-four finish in the 2021/22 Premiership season.
According to the stats, Augustus “had a gainline success rate of 75 percent in the league in 2021/22, the best rate of any forward in the Premiership, TOP 14, URC or Super Rugby [the big four leagues] last season [min. 100 carries]”.
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75% – @SaintsRugby‘s Juarno Augustus had a gainline success rate of 75% in the league in 2021/22, the best rate of any forward in the Premiership, TOP 14, URC or Super Rugby last season (min. 100 carries). Devine.
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— OptaJonny (@OptaJonny) August 19, 2022
He is the only South African forward in the top five in terms of those stats.
Pierre Bourgarit (Stade Rochelais) is in second with 70.3 percent and Hoskins Sotutu (Blues) is in third with 69.8 percent.
Jack Innard (Exeter Chiefs – 66.7 percent) and So’otala Fa’aso’o (Brive – 66.1 percent) are in fourth and fifth respectively.
Augustus’ brute strength also helped him score seven tries in the 2021/22 season.
He also features in the Premiership’s top 15 when it comes to defenders beaten with a total of 54.
Augustus is still young and if continues his fine form in the seasons to come then it will be hard for the Bok coaches to ignore him.
Statistical sources: The Analyst (Opta and Stats Perform)
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) August 17, 2022