So the Boks lost 5 out of their 6 Tri Nations games and conceded a record 22 tries. That has been well publicized. But this is what the reports don’t tell you. Let’s look at the statistics behind the scenes of the six Springbok games played in the 2010 Tri Nations.
Let’s start with the stats revolving around tackles. From the first game of the Tri Nations, this was a 2 horse race and it came down to the wire, with Schalk Burger taking the honours as the player to complete the most tackles with 83. Victor Matfield was a very close second with 82. Honorary mention must go to Guthro Steenkamp who managed a staggering 78 tackles in his six games. That is amazing for a front rower. Between the three of them, they completed a quarter of the completed tackles of the team put together.
Now on to the missed tackles stats. This honor is shared between Schalk Burger and John Smit, each missing 14 tackles. Just behind them is Danie Roussouw, with 13 misses. When you do the math though, Smit misses 25% of the tackles he attempts, meaning that he misses one in every four tackles. The worst offender mathematically is Zane Kirchner, who attempted 18 tackles and missed 7, a staggering 39% failure rate as the last line of defence. Honorary mention to Jacque Fourie who played nearly 5 games, made 38 tackles and did not miss one.
The handling stats are up next, and this is where a lot of fans said the Springboks let themselves down. The worst transgressor is Francois Hougaard, who spilled the ball 15 times in 3 games. Considering he got his hands on the ball 240 times in that time, you can forgive the man. Compare that to the 12 knocks by Bryan Habana, who only got his hands on the ball 64 times, has a 20% error rate, spiling the ball once every five touches. The worst offender mathematically is Gio Aplon, who spilled 8 times ot of 24 touches, spilling one in three touches.
On to our final category, which is the ruck attendance situation. Victor Matfield ran away with this attending a massive 180 rucks in the six games. That’s exactly 30 a game. Second was Guthro Steenkamp with 158 rucks and Schalk in third with 128 rucks. All the above players played all six games without being substituted, so it would be unfair to keep crediting them. Mathematically, Matfield at 30 rucks a game should be the benchmark. Francois Louw who played 2 games, managed to hit 34 rucks a game, which is a good average, if only he played a few more.
So in conclusion, I would like to open the discussion of the MVP of the Tri Nations for the Springboks. My nominee is Victor Matfield, who showed what a workhorse he is, hitting the most rucks (180) and making the second most tackles (82) in the process.Tweet