**The United Rugby Championship has introduced rugby’s first comprehensive player ratings based on “expected points” (xP).**\n\nLike “expected points added” (EPA) in the NFL and “expected goals” (xG) in football, this revolutionary new stat measures the impact that each player has on his side’s chance of scoring. \n\nUsing a collection of machine-learning algorithms, [URC Statmaster](https://www.unitedrugby.com/latest/news/introducing-the-urcs-expected-points-xp-player-ratings) has analysed the average effect that each event on the field has on the scoreboard. \n\nHere, we take a look at the top 10 backs in the competition, with the players' xP values per 80 minutes played and with at least 200 minutes of action in the PRO14/Rainbow Cup last season.\n\n## **1) Chris Smith (Vodacom Bulls)**\n\nFinished the third leading point-scorer in the Rainbow Cup SA and also crossed three times for the Bulls as they topped the southern section before losing to Benetton in the final. Is a consistent performer and is reliable with his ball carrying and kicking game while his catching xP of 1.06 is the best among all backs.\n\n## **2) Edwill van der Merwe (Emirates Lions)**\n\nJoined the Lions from United Rugby Championship rivals the DHL Stormers last month having been the top try-scorer in the Rainbow Cup SA and was also high in the list for clean breaks and defenders beaten. Has the best carrying xP of 2.88 in the backs category. \n\n## **3) James Lowe (Leinster)**\n\nThe New Zealand-born Ireland international only featured in three PRO14/Rainbow Cup matches last season but still contributed three tries as Leinster won Conference A in the PRO14 before being an unused replacement in the final victory over Munster. Only van der Merwe has a better carrying xP than Lowe’s 2.46.