URC Stats: South Africans top the charts
STAT ATTACK: Round Three of the United Rugby Championship served up another entertaining weekend of action.
The South African teams started to find their feet, with the Sharks and Bulls both winning in Wales while the Stormers drew with Edinburgh in the Scottish capital.
There was a long overdue victory for the Dragons at Connacht to end a six-match losing run and Ulster and Munster stayed perfect with wins against Benetton and the Scarlets respectively.
Leinster maintained their winning start with a 43-7 victory over Zebre while Glasgow Warriors edged the Emirates Lions at Scotstoun.
The top performers in Round three:
Boeta Chamberlain (Sharks)
Chamberlain had a memorable match in Swansea, completing a rare feat of three drop goals – only the third player to achieve such a treble in the competition’s history.
In addition, he created a try for Jeremy Ward and nearly had a try of his own when he charged down Gareth Anscombe’s kick.
Kurt-Lee Arendse (Bulls)
Arendse gave his side tremendous go-forward at Cardiff to earn the Player of the Match prize.
He ended the game with three clean breaks, five defenders beaten and 83 metres made.
Chris Cloete (Munster)
Munster flank Cloete was at the heart of a dominant performance from his pack in Llanelli, with his tackling and work at the breakdown ensuring the Scarlets never got going in attack.
He also provided a valuable link between backs and forwards and his efforts were rewarded with his side’s final try.
Jaco van der Walt (Edinburgh)
Van der Walt was another to maintain his impressive start to the campaign and was heavily involved in all of Edinburgh’s points against the Stormers.
The flyhalf played in Darcy Graham for the first try of the night, then did likewise for Ben Vellacott to score the second while also kicking two conversions and two penalties.
Nathan Doak (Ulster)
For a third consecutive match, Ulster scrum-half Doak showed composure and maturity beyond his 19 years.
He scored 18 of Ulster’s 28 points against Benetton, kicking all four conversions.
Doak also finished off a sweeping move for his first try and, while his second try on 78 minutes was from a couple of metres out, it was of great significance for Ulster as it secured the bonus point.
Johnny Sexton (Leinster)
Dan Leavy and Zebre back row Renato Giammarioli stood out in the first half at the RDS, showing their physicality on both sides of the ball.
However, Leinster’s club captain Sexton had a key influence for the final hour.
The URC Player of the Match got his side back on track after a disappointing collective display at the Dragons last Sunday.
Rory Darge (Glasgow Warriors)
Openside flank Darge continued his impressive start to the season with another hugely influential, all-action display against the Lions.
The 21-year-old struggled to get the game time he craved at Edinburgh but has fast become a key man for Glasgow since making the move along the M8.
He was good with ball in hand and excellent in defence when the Lions cranked up the pressure.
Taine Basham (Dragons)
The Dragons’ only previous success at Connacht was on their inaugural visit to The Sportsground over 17 years ago.
They put an end to that winless run in emphatic style, with Jordan Williams and Sam Davies starring.
However, the biggest impact was made by openside Basham, who carried powerfully and put in some crunching hits.