Despite a dominant season which resulted in a ninth Super Rugby title in 23 years, there was not a lot of love for the Crusaders in the Super Rugby Team of the Year – with just one of Scott Robertson’s charges selected.
Wing George Bridge was bizarrely the sole Crusader named in the 15-man team, with Chiefs fly-half Damian McKenzie named Player of the Season.
McKenzie was also selected at first-five eighth ahead of Richie Mo’unga and Beauden Barrett.
Super Rugby tweeted, saying the Chiefs star beat the most defenders in Super Rugby while also ranking in the top 10 for carries, metres, clean breaks, offloads as well as try involvements – McKenzie scored six and had eight assists.
The side was posted to the official Super Rugby social accounts, which said selection was “based on comprehensive statistics that monitor in detail every action of every match”.
Seven New Zealand-based players were selected, a team-high four Chiefs – Brodie Retallick, Anton Lienert-Brown, Solomon Alaimalo and McKenzie – Crusaders winger Bridge, Hurricanes half-back TJ Perenara and Blues loose forward Akira Ioane.
Team of the Year #SuperRugby— Super Rugby (@SuperRugby) 7 August 2018
Has players from 12 of the teams and like the regular season is based on comprehensive statistics that monitor in detail every action of every match. Player of the year is @ChiefsRugby play-maker Damian McKenzie
Full details: https://t.co/9Y26bZcQvc pic.twitter.com/ZYuvKM0Rhf
The Chiefs, who lost in the quarter-finals, are the only team to have more than one player, with the Blues, Hurricanes, Waratahs, Reds, Sunwolves and Jaguares also having one each.
The Lions also had only one player, hooker Malcolm Marx, despite reaching the final.
There was a quartet of South African players, which all feature up front and also include Stormers prop Steven Kitshoff, Bulls lock Lood de Jager and Sharks flank Jean-Luc du Preez.
Australia were represented by Waratahs full-back Israel Folau and Reds prop Taniela Tupou.
Argentina’s Jaguares had flanker Pablo Matera while Japan’s Sunwolves boasted centre Michael Little.
An explainer of the stats the team were picked on gave a score to each action a player completed, with a try outranking a tackle for example.
The points are weighted on the score at the time of the action and also the quality of the opposition with the explainer claiming “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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