With the Super Rugby season put on hold after 7 rounds, SANZAAR have released their team of the season (so far)
Using the Opta Index the team has been announced. The Index allows genuine opportunities to compare and contrast both player and team strengths and weaknesses across Super Rugby, providing real insights pre-game as follows.
The table-topping Sharks have three players representing them in the side in Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Andre Esterhuizen and Aphelele Fassi all making the side.
The Crusaders also have three players in the side with rookie Tom Christie on the openside with George Bridge on the wing and Braydon Ennor in the centres.
The Reds, meanwhile, are the most represented side with five players in the side in hooker Alex Mafi, Tighthead prop Taniela Tupou, blindside flanker Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, scrumhalf Tate McDermott and flyhalf James O'Connor.
The Sunwolves and Jaguares have just a player each in the side in Mike Soberg and Guido Petti respectively. Despite the Stormers and Blues' strong starts to the season, they too have just a player each in Steven Kitshoff and Mark Telea.
Opta Index: How does it work
The Opta Index allows genuine opportunities to compare and contrast both player and team strengths and weaknesses across Super Rugby, providing real insights pre-game as follows:
After every match Opta completes a video analysis of every touch of the ball. Each action in the match is awarded a points value depending on the relative importance of the action. So for example, a try scores more points than a tackle, but a player loses points for a missed tackle.
The points are then weighted against the score at the time when the action took place (higher points if the score is closer), the time in the match (higher points at the start of the match) and the position on the pitch where it took place (higher points for actions closer to the goal line).
The player is then given a score for the match by adding up all his actions while he was on the field. The total match score is then weighted to take account of the strength of the opposition so that performances across many matches can be judged fairly.
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