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Flyhalf: Who is Mr Consistency?

It has become very clear that all of South Africa's flyhalves have their different strengths and weaknesses.

As we conclude our statistics-based feature of the leading candidates for the Springbok No.10 jersey, we realise that team tactics tend to play a very big role in the approach of the pivots.

Morné Steyn, who has come under fire for his erratic goal-kicking, is still struggling with his radar. However, there is no doubt he is the most effective out-of-hand kicker in the country and his distribution skills must have contributed in some way to the 11 tries his team scored in the last three games.

Peter Grant certainly takes the title as Mr Reliable in the goal-kicking department – having kicked an amazing 14 from 14 in the post-international period which we used for this analysis. His kicking out of hand remains a problem, with an average distance of just over 32 metres – even failing to find touch on occasion. But his try-assist count is the best of the lot.

Elton Jantjies may well have suffered as a result of his team's lack of consistency. While they have scored some spectacular tries, and Jantjies has made the highest number of passes, it is the try-assists and missed tackles that tell the real story. He has no try assists, meaning that he is basically just a link, while he also slips the most tackles.

Patrick Lambie finally made an appearance on the field, but played at fullback – so his stats can't be compared to that of the other flyhalves.

We will let the numbers speak for themselves!

Morné Steyn (Bulls):

He is the Bok incumbent, has played 37 Tests and 103 Super Rugby caps.

Played 59 minutes in the 40-24 demolition of the Cheetahs and the Bulls had a 40-0 lead when he left the field.

* Goal-kick success rate: 83.3 percent – five from six conversions.

* He received the ball 24 times – kicked nine times (for 401 metres gained – average distance of 44.5 metres per kick), passed 14 times, ran once and had one try-assist.

* He made five tackles and missed none.

Played 77 minutes in the 10-32 loss to the Sharks

* Goal-kick success rate: 100 percent – two from two (one conversion and one penalty)

* He received the ball 29 times – kicked six times (for 217 metres gained – average distance of 36.16 metres per kick), passed 21 times, ran twice and had no try-assist.

* He made five tackles and missed two.

Played 75 minutes of the 37-20 win  over the Lions.

* Goal-kick success rate: 78 percent – seven from nine (four conversions and three penalties)

* He received the ball 30 times – kicked six times (for 240 metres gained – average distance of 40 metres per kick), passed 22 times, ran twice and had no try-assists.

* He made seven tackles and missed one.

Total:

* Goal-kick success rate: 82 percent – 14 from 17

* He received the ball 83 times – kicked 23 times (for 858 metres gained – average distance of 37.3 metres per kick), passed 57 times, ran five times and had one try-assist.

* He made 17 tackles and missed four.

Peter Grant (Stormers):

He has five Test caps, but has not played since 2008. He has 83 Super Rugby caps.

He played all 80 minutes in the 27-17 win over the Lions.

* Goal-kick success rate: 100 percent – three from three conversion and two from two penalty goals.

* He received the ball 39 times – kicked twice (for 51 metres gained – average of 25.5 metres per kick), passed 32 times, ran five times and had one try-assist.

* He made eight tackles and missed two.

Played 80 minutes in the 13-6 win over the Cheetahs

* Goal-kick success rate: 100 percent – three from three (one conversion and two penalties)

* He received the ball 41 times – kicked 19 times (for 623 metres gained – average distance of 32.78 metres per kick), passed 15 times, ran seven and had one try-assist.

* He made seven tackles and missed one.

Played 80 minutes of the 26-21 win over the Rebels

* Goal-kick success rate: 100 percent – six from six (two conversions and four penalties)

* He received the ball 38 times – kicked seven times (for 227 metres gained – average distance of 32.4 metres per kick), passed 24 times, ran seven and had one try-assist.

* He made 12 tackles and missed three.

Total:

* Goal-kick success rate: 100 percent – 14 from 14

* He received the ball 118 times – kicked 28 times (for 901 metres gained – average distance of 32.17 metres per kick), passed 71 times, ran 19 and had three try-assists.

* He made 27 tackles and missed six.

Elton Jantjies (Lions):

He was a Springbok tourist for the year-end tour of Britain and Ireland in 2010 and also a member of the Bok squad for the series against England in 2012, but has yet to play a Test. He has 23 Super Rugby caps.

He played all 80 minutes of the Lions' 17-27 loss to the Stormers.

* Goal-kick success rate: 75 percent – three from four (two conversions and one penalty).

* He received the ball 40 times – kicked eight times (for 258 metres gained – average of 32.25 metres per kick), passed 27 times, ran five times and had no try assists.

* He made 10 tackles and missed just one.

Played 80 minutes in the 37-32 win over the Rebels

* Goal-kick success rate: 100 percent – seven from seven (four conversions and three penalties)

* He received the ball 34 times – kicked 12 times (for 492 metres gained – average distance of 41 metres per kick), passed 17 times, ran five and had no try-assist.

* He made eight tackles and missed three.

Played 80 minutes of the 20-37 loss to the Bulls

* Goal-kick success rate: 100 percent – four from four (two conversions and two penalties)

* He received the ball 32 times – kicked six times (for 212 metres gained – average distance of 35.3 metres per kick), passed 20 times, ran six and had no try-assists.

* He made eight tackles and missed four.

Total:

* Goal-kick success rate: 93 percent – 14 from 15

* He received the ball 106 times – kicked 26 times (for 962 metres gained – average distance of 37 metres per kick), passed 64 times, ran 16 and had no try-assist.

* He made 26 tackles and missed eight.

There you have it. Do the stats lie? Who was the most influential flyhalf for the past three weeks?

By Jan de Koning

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