Cheetahs lead the way in Round 2 stats

Joe Leavey
07 October 2019

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Round 2 of the Guinness PRO14 season presented the first opportunity for players to build on their opening-round statistics.

Given the early form of the Toyota Cheetahs, it is no surprise to see them leading the stats in various departments after their resounding 63-26 win over Ulster.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh weren’t quite able to back their opening-round 50-point haul against Zebre up but still won away at Cardiff Blues thanks to the sharp-shooting of Jaco van der Walt.

Cheetahs racing away

The Cheetahs have made an emphatic start to the season, scoring 111 points in their opening two games and clocking up a maximum 10 points on the board.

It is therefore no surprise to see returning scrum-half Ruan Pienaar take an early lead in search of the coveted top points scorer award.

His 30 points (from 11 conversions, one try and one penalty) puts him three clear of Van der Walt with JJ Hanrahan, Sam Davies and Demetri Catrakilis making up the chasing pack.

Meanwhile, Rhyno Smith currently sits jointly with Edinburgh’s Mark Bennett as the competition’s top tryscorer with four. The full-back has also made the most carries of any player by taking the ball in hand 28 times.

Last season’s top points scorer, fly-half Tian Schoeman, is leading the way in a different metric this time around – offloading.

The South African is currently out on his own with seven offloads to his name with Van der Walt, Craig Gilroy and Damien Hoyland closest to him, all on four.

But it hasn’t just been Schoeman providing the offloads – Cheetahs players account for 41 of the 233 offloaded passes in the 14 games so far this season – that is 18 per cent!

Van der duo

Like the Cheetahs, Edinburgh have started the season with two wins out of two with Bennett following up his Round 1 hat-trick with his team’s only try in a narrow win over Cardiff Blues.

The other 14 points in that game came from the boot of Jaco van der Walt, who currently leads the way in the penalty stakes with five.

Elsewhere, Duhan van der Merwe has been up to his old tricks again and sits pretty atop the defenders beaten stakes with an incredible 16 in just two games.

Top tryscorers this season

Mark Bennett 4

Rhyno Smith 4

Joseph Dweba 3

Ronan Kelleher 3

Craig Gilroy 3

Dave Kearney 3

Anthony Volmink 3

Byrne baby O’Byrne

There is a distinct similarity between the two leading try assisters this season – their name.

Munster’s Kevin O’Byrne and Leinster’s Ross Byrne have both set up three tries each so far this season to guide their teams to back-to-back wins.

Best of the rest

Despite all the carries and defenders beaten by Smith and Van der Merwe, there is one man who has gained more metres than them so far this season – Dragons full-back Jordan Williams.

And Stefan Ungerer has been trigger-happy with the boot, kicking from his hands more than any other player – 24 times.

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