Likely PRO14 Restart Stars – Van der Walt or Van der Merwe?
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The PRO14 recently hit the restart button after several months off. With the resumption of this great rugby tournament comes the anticipation of several match-ups and position jostling among the players and their statistics.
Fans Leinster, Ulster, Glasgow Warriors, Munster, Scarlets and other teams can look forward to plenty of action. Bookies like Betfair and PaddyPower have Edinburgh at 9/2 to win the 2019-20 edition. It’s worth mentioning that these bookies are trusted PayPal betting sites for players from the UK and have been known to offer the best odds for Pro14.
Edinburgh at the top for good reason
Edinburgh, indeed, are a solid bet overall. Ahead of their clash against Glasgow Warriors at Murrayfield, here’s an in-depth look at what they’ve been doing to keep themselves among the favourites.
At the top of Conference B with 11 wins and three losses from 14 matches, they’ve quickly left the Kings, Cardiff Blues and Benetton in their wake. They will continue to face stiff competition from Connacht and others, though.
South African roots
Jaco van der Walt has been in some fine form for Edinburgh this season. He has collected 82 points to hold fourth position among the leading scorers at the moment. Edinburgh owe a lot to this dynamic and versatile player.
Their leading try-scorer is Duhan van der Merwe. Another Edinburgh player of South African roots, van der Merwe, has crossed the line for seven tries. He’s currently in joint-fourth position.
Defence, defence, defence
Rugby is not all about attack, though. As the old adage goes, one needs a good attack and defence to win matches.
In terms of tackles made, look no further for the excellent stops and drops from Olly Cracknell of Ospreys. He’s put in almost 200 tackles so far – and counting. Further down the list, there is Paul Boyle from Connacht and Josh Turnbull of Cardiff.
Getting the boot in
From ball in hand to ball to boot, it’s onto the kicking side of the game. Here, Ruaridh Jackson of the Glasgow Warriors has a 100% kicking success to boast about, but that could change. Luke Price has slotted the most penalties and the Ospreys have him to thank for 17 three-pointers.
JJ Hanrahan’s conversion record is only as good as his team-mates’ collective ability to score plenty of tries. He has slotted 29 two-pointers, but plenty of those came right in front of the posts. You’ve still got to get the easy ones over, of course.
Ruan Pienaar of the Cheetahs and John Cooney of Ulster are not too far behind with 25 each. Cooney, it is well worth noting, has only missed two conversions this Pro14 season.