Often when watching a game of rugby, it’s easy to get carried away with what you see in the heat of the moment (or rather, what you think you see) and form subjective opinions based on that. Having a look at performances in the light of independent statistics can often yield some different insights.
The Bulls like to hand out awards to players after each game – for things like most tackles, most cleans, biggest hit and all the rest and apart from the fact that they have really stupid names for these (which rugby player wants to be called a “bumblebee”, for goodness sake?) I think it’s a pretty good idea. Let’s have a look at the Sharks stats for the game against the Blue Bulls (courtesy of the awesome www.ruggastats.com) and hand out a few awards of our own.
Probably the most obvious one to look at is for most tackles in the match. This one isn’t really surprising, in that it goes to Mike Rhodes with 15 tackles completed. I guess it actually is a bit surprising that somebody has beaten Jacques Botes to the award, come to think of it. He actually came third – the surprise runner-up was prop Pat Cilliers! Among the backs, Steve Meyer and Pat Lambie lead with 12 tackles each.
Statistically, the worst tackler was actually Craig Burden, who only completed 5 tackles and missed 2 others. Wiehahn Herbst also missed 2, but completed 10.
The most line breaks were made by man of the match Lwazi Mvovo, as he breached the Bulls defence 3 times. Burden and Lambie were not far behind, with 2 line breaks each.
Ruck attendance was a key factor for the Sharks, as the forwards completely overshadowed their Bulls opponents at most breakdowns. Jacques Botes emerges as the clear star here, participating in 42 rucks (30 on attack and 12 on defence). Alistair Hargreaves came in second with 31 total cleans.
Lastly we’ll look at who handled the ball most (outside of the halfbacks) and again, it’s not really surprising to find that Pat Lambie got his mitts on the pill 27 times. Keegan Daniel was the leading forward ball-handler, with 20, but special mention must go to Hargreaves, who touched the ball 19 times.
Pat Cilliers was the villain when it came to most penalties conceded, giving away 4. Most of these were for scrum infringements.Tweet