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Smith's golden boot earns him URC award

NEWS: The Bulls’ Chris Smith has walked away with the United Rugby Championships’ Golden Boot Award thanks to his accurate place-kicking.

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The URC announced three winners – Alessandro Izekor, Jamie Ritchie, and Chris Smith – who have added their names to the URC Awards roll of honour by collecting the Tackle Machine, Turnover King, and Golden Boot prizes respectively.

They become the first award winners of the 2023/24 season as we roll out the red carpet ahead of the semifinals, with the Top Try Scorer, Ironman, Try of the Season, Next-Gen Player of the Season, Elite XV, and Innovation Award winners all set to be announced this week.

The final three awards – the URC Player of the Season, Coach of the Season, and the Player’s Player of the Season, will all be announced next week ahead of the Grand Final.

GOLDEN BOOT

Smith wins the award with 30 successful kicks and an accuracy of 90%.

The Golden Boot is awarded in recognition of the most accurate place-kicker, with all kickers who have attempted a minimum of 30 ranked by their success percentage.

Ulster’s John Cooney wasn’t far behind him with 49 kicks and an accuracy of 88%, with Leinster’ Ross Byrne coming in third with an accuracy of 87% from his 31 successful kicks.

TACKLE MACHINE

This award is given to the player who boasts the best tackle success rate among those who have attempted 150 or more over the course of the campaign.

Izekor takes home the prize having made 188 tackles at a success rate of 98%.

The 24-year-old edged out Stormers lock Ruben van Heerden, who made 224 tackles in the URC this season with a tackle accuracy of 97%.

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Scarlets lock Alex Craig finishes in third place with 199 tackles and a tackle accuracy of 96%.

TURNOVER KING

This is awarded to the player who has won the most turnovers during the regular season.

Ritchie wins the award convincingly with 22, four ahead of Connacht’s Shamus Hurley-Langton, who finished in second place with 18, and five ahead of third-placed JC Pretorius of the Lions, who made 17 turnovers.

 

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