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Wed 17 Jun 2020 | 10:02

How South African locks evolved

How South African locks evolved
Wed 17 Jun 2020 | 10:02
How South African locks evolved
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STAT ATTACK: South African locks are famed for their brutality and the physical nature of their game. However, there is at least one that has the skills to compare with the best backs.

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In a world where defences have become near impenetrable, the ability to offload in the tackle is an art that many players have mastered.

However, not many forwards feature in the top 10.

The BIG surprise is that a South African lock tops Super Rugby’s offloading list for the last three years.

When Super Rugby Aotearoa kicked off this past weekend the crowds flocked to the stadiums and sat down in front of their television sets to admire the skills of New Zealand players.

The Highlanders’ Shannon Frizell made a match-high three offloads in the nailbiting 28-27 win over the Chiefs last Saturday, the third time he has made as many in a Super Rugby match playing at the blindside flank position – the most instances of any such New Zealand player in the last decade.

However, Frizell still has a fair way to go to catch Springbok Rudolph Snyman (13), the player with the most Super Rugby games of three-or-more offloads since the beginning of 2017.

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Most games with 3+ offloads in Super Rugby

Snyman’s tally – all while playing for the Bulls – is one more than the next best player – Jordie Barrett (Hurricanes), who has had 12 games of three-or-more offloads for the Wellington-based side in this period.

The Sharks’ Jean-Luc du Preez (nine times of three-or-more offloads) is the only other forward in the competition with more than seven instances in this span.

What would a Super Rugby starting XV of the best offload practitioners look like?

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Most offloads by jersey in Super Rugby

Starting in the backs, Sarel Marais (70) has made the most offloads of any starting fullback in the last half-decade, seven more than any of his peers in the position in Super Rugby.

The Highlanders’ Waisake Naholo (52) has made 18 more offloads than any other player to start on the right wing (No.14) in Super Rugby since the beginning of 2016.

Elton Jantjies (Lions – 58) is one of only two Super Rugby players to start at flyhalf in the last half-decade and make 50+ offloads (Richie Mo’unga – 52).

The Hurricanes’ Thomas Perenara (45) is the only such scrumhalf to make 40+. Moving into the forward pack, we can see the Sharks’ Daniel du Preez (53) at No.8, only one other individual to have started at the position in the last half-decade of Super Rugby has made 40+ (Amanaki Mafi – 40).

Agustin Creevy (Jaguares – 42) has made almost double the number of offloads of any other Super Rugby player to start a match as a hooker in this stretch, he is joined in the front row by two Australian Test players in Toby Smith (15 offloads) and Sekope Kepu (27 offloads).

Source: @SuperRugby/SANZAAR

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How South African locks evolved | Rugby365