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The Bok flyhalf numbers game

We take a look at how the contenders for the Springbok flyhalf berth measured up against one another statistically in Super Rugby this past weekend.

As a wise statesman once said: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

With the flyhalf position – or at least the candidates for that spot – remaining one of the most heated topics of debate surrounding Springbok selection, we decided now is as good a time as any to use some Super Rugby statistics to compare the leading candidates.

Bulls stalwart Morné Steyn started in all three Tests against England and while his goalkicking was well below-par in the Tests, some people felt other aspects of his game improved. His first game back at Loftus Versfeld saw a much-improved goalkicking performance for the Bulls, but did the rest of his game measure up?

Lions pivot Elton Jantjies was on the bench in the third Test against England, but did not get any game time. He is a pretty decent goalkicker and seen as a very good attacking flyhalf. However, did he get his backline away most often this past weekend?

Then there is the forgotten man, Stormers flyhalf Peter Grant – Mr. Reliable. Is his kicking distance (out of hand) as poor as his critics say?

The Sharks did not play this past weekend, so we obviously have no stats for Pat Lambie. We will include him next week when we revisit the subject (that's to say if he does start at No.10).

This week we will only make statistical comparisons between the three flyhalves that did feature in Super Rugby – Steyn, Grant and Jantjies.

Steyn played in the rarified air of the Highveld, while Grant and Jantjies went head-to-head at sea level.

We will let the numbers speak for themselves:

Morné Steyn (Bulls):

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

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

* Goalkicking 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.

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.

* Goalkicking 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.

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.

* Goalkicking success rate: 75 percent – two from two conversions and one from two penalties.

* 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.

There you have it. Do the stats lie? Who do you think was the most influential flyhalf this week?

By Jan de Koning

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