Super Rugby’s 2017 Team of the Year, chosen on individual statistical return, does not include one Crusader but I’d back the champions to whip the competition’s supposed best of 2017.
What do you think?
South Africa has five players in the Sanzaar team that was selected on each player’s season statistics.
Among them are Stormers outside back Cheslin Kolbe and Stormers lock Pieter-Steph du Toit and the Lions trio of Jaco Kriel, Malcolm Marx and Jacques van Rooyen.
New Zealand, who had four franchises finish in the top five, have just six players in the 15.
Australia, whose franchises lost 26 successive matches against Kiwi opposition, have three players in the statistical XV and Argentina complete the 15 with lock Guido Petti Pagadizabal.
Springboks 2007 World Cup-winning coach Jake White was always reluctant to put too much emphasis on player statistics in isolation. He’d argue that it had to be viewed in the context of team performance and flow of play.
White was famous for always saying the perceived 15 best were not necessarily the best XV, which brings us to the Sanzaar Super Rugby Team of the season.
Would you back this team to beat the Crusaders, who won 17 of their 18 matches, including becoming the first team to ever travel to South Africa to win a final?
I’d back the Crusaders to give this team 30 points plus.
Sanzaar’s Super Rugby team of the season: Damian McKenzie (Chiefs), Cheslin Kolbe (Stormers), Samu Kerevi (Reds), Ngani Laumape (Hurricanes), James Lowe (Chiefs), Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes), Augustine Pulu (Blues), Amanaki Mafi (Rebels), Ardie Savea (Hurricanes), Jaco Kriel (Lions), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers), Guido Petti Pagadizabal (Jaguares), Allan Alaalatoa (Brumbies), Malcolm Marx (Lions), Jacques van Rooyen (Lions).