Let’s have a look at what the statistics reveal about the Sharks unfortunate loss to the Blue Bulls this past weekend.
The one number that stands out alarmingly is the missed tackle statistic for the Sharks as a team. Whereas we’ve become used to seeing tackle effectiveness percentages in the mid-nineties for the past few weeks, all of a sudden, the Sharks started to fall off an alarming number of hits, particularly in their “nightmare patch” just after half time, where the Bulls scored three quick tries to take the game away. Out of a total of 106 attempts, the Sharks missed 17, giving them an effective tackle statistic of only 84%. That’s nowhere near good enough and apart from all the other silly things – like kicking away possession – goes a long way to explain the loss.
Tackles were low overall, as one would probably expect given the Sharks’ domination of possession in the first half. Best tackler of the day was Beast Mtawarira, with 9 stops, 2 assists and no misses. Dries Strauss was just slightly behind, as he also pulled off 9 tackles and 2 assists, but also had a miss to his credit (or should that be debit?). Bismarck du Plessis, Alistair Hargreaves, Jacques Botes and Willem Alberts also weighed in with a fair few hits. Looking at the missed tackles, I’m afraid I need to report that Pat Lambie was the main culprit, with 3 misses, although a whole raft of players were just behind on 2 each. Lambie only completed 3 tackles, giving him an effectiveness stat of only 50%. The shocking thing is, though, that he wasn’t the worst statistically. Fullback Monty Dumond only made a single successful tackle, while missing 2 others, putting him on 33% for the game.
Moving on to ball-in-hand, it was Willem Alberts who unsurprisingly tops the ball carries stat, with 17 (including two line breaks). Lwazi Mvovo only carried the ball 7 times, but managed to break the line on 3 of those occasions, backing up my view that he really does need to get more involved in the play, because he’s our key strike runner. Alberts also topped the metres gained statistic, with 127 metres made with ball in hand. Mvovo (103) and Lambie (100) were just behind.
Handling figures were pretty low all round, with Alberts and Bismarck du Plessis the players to touch the ball most often (excluding the halfbacks). Each player got his hands on the ball 23 times, yet with Lambie only handling 27 times in total, one has to wonder whether the flyhalf shouldn’t have been given more of a chance to run the game, instead of allowing the forwards to do it.
There are no prizes for guessing who bossed the ruck attendance stat. Jacques Botes, once again, stands head and shoulders above anyone else with a staggering 49 ruck hits (37 on attack and 12 on defence), more than double his opposite number Derrick Kuun’s contribution (28 in total). Steven Sykes (37) and Beast Mtawarira (36) provided good back-up to the red-capped marvel.
Errors – and particular handling errors – was the other factor that killed the Sharks. 10 penalties were conceded in total, which is not a huge disaster, although MVP candidate Beast unfortunately did concede 30% of those all on his own. The 26 handling errors and 24 other errors were the real killer, though and a number of players need to have the riot act read to them here. Charl McLeod, Alistair Hargreaves and Botes were responsible for 4 handling errors each, with Rory Kockott and Bismarck du Plessis each committing 3. McLeod emerges as the real villain of the piece, though, as his 4 handling errors were added to 5 other errors and a penalty to give him a “total screw up” score of 10. Next worst was Botes (7), followed by du Plessis and Kockott, with 6 each.
Thanks, as always, to www.ruggastats.com for these figures.Tweet