Super Rugby Pacific: The seven stats leaders after three rounds, including top try scorer, most defenders beaten and the king of the line-out

Super Rugby Pacific: Split with Tavatavanawai, Stevenson and Edmed Credit: Alamy
Super Rugby Pacific: Split with Tavatavanawai, Stevenson and Edmed Credit: Alamy

The opening three rounds of the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific has seen some outstanding rugby, including breathtaking tries, massive upsets and a whole lot more.

Planet Rugby takes a closer look at the players who are key to the exciting rugby on show and who leads the rest in the respective individual statistics category.

Top try scorer

Chiefs full-back Shaun Stevenson continues his rise in stature and leads the competition with five tries in the opening three games. The speedster’s free running ability and spatial awareness is something to behold as he makes try scoring look so easy and oh so natural.

Interestingly, despite leading the way with the most tries, Stevenson blanked in the opening round but followed that up with a hat-trick in round two and a brace in round three.

Runners-up: Reds star Jordan Petaia sits alone in second with four tries, whilst a host of stars have scored three tries, including Waratahs teenage sensation Max Jorgensen who bagged a brace on debut in round one.

Top points

Waratahs fly-half Tane Edmed heads up the points scorers category with 40 points courtesy of a true masterclass against the Fijian Drua, where the New South Wales prodigy bagged 18 points in a big win for his side.

The 22-year-old came into his own last season on the Super Rugby Pacific stage, earning himself selection for Australia ‘A’ and looks to be kicking on in 2023 with so much to play for in a World Cup year.

Runners-up: Just behind the Waratahs are the Barrett brothers, with Jordie on 38 points and Beauden on 35, whilst Chiefs’ Damian McKenzie and versatile Rebel Reece Hodge both have 34 points to their name.

Top tackler

One for the grafters and grinders of the rugby world, and it is no surprise to see the tireless Blues skipper Dalton Papali’i leading the way with 48 tackles in three games!

It is an outstanding effort from a player who leads by example every time he takes to the field, as he did in the Blues’ charge to the final last season. The openside flanker has absolutely relished the captaincy role and has transcended his game with the responsibility.

Runners-up: Crusaders’ workhorse Tom Christie is not far behind with 45 tackles, whilst the Reds’ Harry Wilson and Brumbies’ Rory Scott have 43 and 41 to their names, respectively.

Top carrier

Whilst Wilson was near the top for tackles made, the Wallaby underlines his value on both sides of the ball with the most carries so far with 39.

High work-rate with ball in hand has become a cornerstone of his game, and decision-makers in the team can rely on the number eight to relentlessly take the ball up and into contact as they manage the game.

Runners up: Blues eighth man Hoskins Sotutu is right on the tail of Wilson with 38 carries whilst Rebel Stacey Ili (36), Brumbies’ Tom Wright and ‘Canes Salesi Rayasi (both 33) follow.

Most defenders beaten

The powerful and hot-running Timoci Tavatavanawai of Moana Pasifika dominates this category with 26 defenders beaten, 10 more than the next closest player.

The superstar is no stranger to this category, having finished last season as the leader with a whopping 73 defenders beaten. However, Tavatavanawai could surpass his standards from 2022 and looks truly electrifying with ball in hand.

Runners-up: Blues star Mark Telea has 16 defenders beaten, which may come as a surprise after his sensational performance against the Highlanders in the opening round. Stevenson has also beaten 16 players thus far.

Most running metres

Whilst Stevenson may be a runner-up at this stage for defenders beaten, he leads the charge for running metres with 407 metres carried with ball in hand.

The combination of the tries scored, his defenders beaten, and the sum of running metres clearly underlines that the 26-year-old is currently at the peak of his attacking powers and is arguably the most dangerous player in the competition so far.

Runners-up: It is not a surprise to see Brumby Tom Wright in second with 377 metres, as the star is always looking to make something happen with ball in hand. Sotutu is right up with the backline stars on 352 metres, while team-mate Telea has made 320 metres.

Most line-outs won

Josh Canham has clearly been the go-to man in the Rebels set-piece, with an impressive 19 line-outs won in the opening three clashes.

Despite being 31 years old, the second-row only pushed through the ranks and earned his Super Rugby Pacific debut in 2022 but looks to have become a key component of the Melbourne men’s set-piece operation.

Runners-up: Waratah Jed Holloway underlines his value in the line-out with 17 takes ahead of Brumby Nick Frost on 14, whilst Cadeyrn Neville, Liam Wright, Miracle Faiilagi and Isoa Nasilsila all sit on 12 line-outs won.

READ MORE: Super Rugby Pacific: Ardie Savea returns to captain Hurricanes against Waratahs

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