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South Africans dominate URC's try-scoring charts

By Stefan Frost
(Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

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South Africans have dominated the URC’s try scoring charts, making up five of the top six come the end of the regular season. Stormers winger Leolin Zas topped the charts with 11 first class finishes across the campaign.

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Zas claimed his accolade alongside fellow South African and Bulls second-row Ruan Nortje, who took home the ‘Ironman’ award for playing the most minutes throughout the 18 rounds of the URC.

Other winners included Ulster’s Alan O’Connor, who claimed the highest tackle count, and Ospreys duo Jac Morgan, who won the most turnovers, and Gareth Anscombe, who claimed the Gilbert Golden Boot.

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“It is incredible to think that I finished the regular season as the top try scorer in the competition,” Zas said. “A lot of those tries are down to the hard work of my teammates creating the opportunities for me to finish. I am grateful to them, the management, my family and our fans for the amazing support I have got this season.”

Zas started the season imperiously, scoring at least one try in each of his first six URC outings. His place at the top of the charts looked beyond doubt, until fellow South African fullback Rhyno Smith claimed seven tries in his last three appearances for Benetton, drawing level with Zas on 10.

The Stormers star soon responded, scoring the opening try in his side’s Round 18 victory over the Scarlets to maintain the top spot.

Fellow winger and Stormers teammate Seabelo Senatla finished joint third in the charts with nine tries, sharing the spot with Bulls flanker Marcell Coetzee. The Bull’s Johan Grobbelaar and the Scarlets’ Johnny McNicholl came fifth with eight tries a piece.

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South African contingents, specifically from the Bulls, also dominated the Ironman award. Nortje played a total of 1,394 minutes and was one of 14 men to feature in all 18 league games.

South Africa URC
(Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

“I am humbled and honoured to receive the United Rugby Championship Ironman Award for the 2021/22 season,” he said. “To receive this recognition in a world-class competition with some of the most respected players is definitely something that will remain a highlight in my playing career. To be able to put on the blue jersey and play for the badge in such a premier championship is something I do not take lightly. I look forward to many more memories and matches in the URC.”

Fellow Bulls players Coetzee and Madosh Tambwe came third and fourth respectively, both clocking almost 1,300 on-field minutes. Stormers duo Ruhan Nel and Manie Libbok came second and fifth, completing an all-South African top five.

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The dream team and next-gen star of the season will be announced later in the week while fans’ player of the season, the coach of the season and players’ player of the season will be announced before the URC final.

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