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Sharks v Lions: by the numbers

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 13 Mar 2012 at 09:00
Tagged with : , , , , ,

It’s time to once again look at a statistical analysis of the Sharks most recent game, against the Lions, courtesy of the Super Rugby match statistics made available by

Please remember that there are always lots of different ways to compile and analyse statistics and that we are constrained here by what’s available on the net. Don’t take these numbers as cast in stone because they do seem to count things quite differently to the way the guys at Verusco do. The numbers, however, are still quite instructive.

Let’s look at the Lions match.

We’ll start with some team statistics – these are useful measure that we can track form match to match.

The Sharks got the better of the Lions in terms of rucks and mauls (81 to 75) and offloads (13 to 9), while each side managed only two line breaks. The Lions edged ahead in the set pieces, winning 7 scrums to the Sharks’ 6 and 19 line outs to the Sharks’ 13. The Lions won 4 lineouts against the throw, with the Sharks picking up 3.

The Lions made more tackles (126 to 114) than the Sharks did, but the Sharks missed a higher percentage (23% against 18%). We’ve come to realise, though, that the way missed tackles in particular are counted does seem a little off; I find it quite hard to believe that the Sharks could have missed almost one in every four tackles on Saturday… perhaps I’m wrong though.

Marcell Coetzee (14) and JP Pietersen (11) made the most tackles in total, with Coetzee managing a credible 93% effectiveness to go with the high total number of stops. Keegan Daniel, Anton Bresler and Meyer Bosman all managed to keep clean sheets with no tackles missed and a special mention must go to Bresler, who has missed no tackles in his last three games. Willem Alberts, in a stat you won’t see repeated, stands out as the worst tackler on the day, missing 5 of his 9 total tackle attempts.

In terms of work with the ball, it was Bismarck du Plessis who made the most runs (11) making 32m in the process. Pietersen (64m) made the most progress with ball in hand, followed by Alberts (52m) and Riaan Viljoen (42m). Coetzee and Bismarck attended the most rucks and mauls, with 11 each. Keegan Daniel deserves a mention for his 5 offloads, far more than anyone else in the match.

The Sharks again conceded too many penalties, 12 against the Lions 10, but that, at least, was 2 down on the 14 given away against the Stormers. Wiehahn Herbst gets the blame for 3 of those, with Bismarck and Steven Sykes each conceding 2. Lost possession sees Bismarck (blamed for 3 lineout losses) joined by Keegan Daniel and Alberts, each of whom coughed up the ball on 3 occasions in open play. Together with the missed tackles, we have no choice but to admit that it was the usually-dependable Alberts who had the highest combined error rate, although we’re sure that a bit of rustiness is the reason behind it.

We’re going to give the Most Valuable Player award to JP Pietersen this week, ahead of Coetzee and Bismarck du Plessis, who were also strong contenders. JP managed 11 tackles, 2 offloads and 7 runs, while also hitting 4 rucks and making 24m from 1 kick. He is also credited with a line break and a try assist.


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