South Africa's most underrated player
STAT ATTACK: There is one Springbok player who probably should have more Test caps to his name.
Sharks centre Andre Esterhuizen has been one of the top performers in Super Rugby over the last couple of seasons.
Despite this, the 26-year-old has only got eight Test appearances for the Springboks.
According to Opta’s stats, Esterhuizen has made 210 carries and attempted 207 tackles in Super Rugby since the beginning of the 2019 campaign.
He is the only player to register 200+ in both categories.
With those powerful carries, he had a knack of getting his team over the advantage line and his offloading abilities in the tackle makes him dangerous in the midfield.
The stats are impressive, but Esterhuizen is still not a popular choice for the No.12 jersey amongst some fans and to a degree the Springbok coaching team as well.
Despite some strong performances for the Sharks, he was still deemed surplus to requirements when Rassie Erasmus named his Springbok World Cup squad last year.
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200 – @TheSharksZA‘s André Esterhuizen has made 210 carries and attempted 207 tackles in @SuperRugby since the beginning of the 2019 campaign – the only player to register 200+ in both categories. Gnash. https://t.co/1xlCHMr3iV
— OptaJason (@OptaJason) April 23, 2020
With Damian de Allende the first-choice No.12, Erasmus opted to include Frans Steyn in his planning due to his versatility in various positions, which included the midfield.
Esterhuizen has started in seven of his eight Test appearances since making his debut against Wales in Washington DC in 2018.
A few of those matches under Erasmus were experimental sides and Esterhuisen’s record currently stands at four wins and four losses at international level.
In 2020, Esterhuizen was in fine form before the Super Rugby season was suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
His partnership with Lukhanyo Am in the midfield has been one of, if not, the best in the tournament this year with the Sharks sitting at the top of the overall standings before the suspension.
It is Esterhuizen’s final season with the Sharks after he signed for English club Harlequins ahead of the 2020/2021 European season.
- Stats provided by Opta