Kitshoff tops URC charts
NEWS: Springbok and Ulster-bound prop Steven Kitshoff has risen to the No.1 spot in the latest update to the United Rugby Championship Top 100.
Based upon the Statmaster algorithm that defines a player’s contribution (xP) to his team’s total points per game, Kitshoff has an overall rating of 95.2 to edge in front of the URC Players’ Player of the Season – Dan Sheehan (94.8), the previously highest ranked player.
The top five positions are all held by forwards, with current World Player of the Year Josh van der Flier of Leinster and Connacht’s Finlay Bealham making it three Irishmen in the group while flank Manuel Zuiliani of Benetton flies the Italy flag at No 4.
The performances of 31-year-old Kitshoff and the value he has provided to both the Stormers and South Africa have propelled him from 45 to first.
The only back-line players to make it into the Top 10 are Ospreys centre Kieran Williams and Leinster wing James Lowe. Glasgow Warriors back row Rory Darge is the only Scottish player to make the top 10 as Munster’s Gavin Coombes makes it five for Ireland while Thomas du Toit, who will depart the Sharks after the World Cup makes it two for South Africa.
Elsewhere in the top 25, Zebre Parma wing Simone Gesi has shot up from 64 to 14th, Wales and Ospreys prop Nicky Smith is up from 48 to 19th while Argentina and Benetton centre Joaquin Riera has moved from 61 to 22nd.