Time for our series of weekly awards based on the statistics coming out of the Sharks impressive win against the Lions on Saturday. Thanks asn always to www.ruggastats.com for these figures.
Let’s start by looking at defence. The Sharks only had to make 130 tackles in the game, in contrast to the frankly ridiculous 243 from the Lions, whose defence kept them in the game for long periods. Top tackler on the Sharks side was none other than Alistair Hargreaves, with 14 tackles, 5 assists ans no misses. Jacques Botes was not far behind, with 12 tackles and two assists (again no misses). It’s quite interesting to note that Hargreaves’ effort would have only made him the seventh-best tackler in the Lions team, with their defensive MVP Warren Whiteley pulling off an astonishing 31 stops.
In a cruel twist of fate, the two players to whom I gave perfect ratings yesterday were the worst offenders when it came to missing tackles, with Willem Alberts missing four and Pat Lambie three.
Looking at ball carrying stats, you can see that the Sharks team as a whole did superbly in this area; overall, the ball was taken up 174 times, with the line broken 20 times. Alberts (16) and Keegan Daniel (15) are the players who carried the ball most often, with the latter responsible for the most line breaks (4). Lwazi Mvovo was the next best at beating the defence, as he broke the line three times. No fewer than six different players made over 100 metres with ball in hand – a truly remarkable achievement – and Lwazi Mvovo was the destroyer-in-chief here, making an impressive 199 metres. Next best was once again Daniel, managing to progress his side by 152 metres.
There were some big handling numbers as well, with halfbacks Charl McLeod and Pat Lambie getting their mitts on the ball 80 and 43 times respectively. Outside of those two, it was again Alberts who touched the ball most, with a handle-count of 23. Handling errors were generally on the low side, with McLeod and Lambie blamed for three apiece. Other than them, Steven Sykes with two was the only player to have committed more than a single handing error, while looking at overall errors, Stefan Terblanche was the worst culprit with three.
Ruck attendance is the last area we’ll look at and once again, Jacques Botes emerges as the hardest worker in this area. The nuggety flanker added his 98kg to no fewer than 43 rucks (38 on attack and 5 on defence), with Alistair Hargreaves showing his penchant for the donkey work, just behind on 41 (35/6). The statistics recorded here give an indication of how many times a player was one of the first three to get to a particular ruck, whether on offence or defence. The numbers are very high for all of the forwards, with only Craig Burden below 20. The hooker, while very busy in broken play (carrying the ball 10 times for a gain of 118 metres) was given a lot of leeway as a result of the rest of the pack being so dominant. He’ll know that a stronger contribution in the tight aspects will be necessary against better opposition packs.Tweet