Richard Ferguson

Tri Nations Stat Attack – Springboks


Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :Original Content, Springboks, Tri Nations on 9 Sep 2010 at 15:11
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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.



58 Comments

  • Sheez, hard not to give to Guthro based on these stats and contribution on the field. For me, Schalk had a great Tri-Nations.

  • Comment 1, posted at 09.09.10 15:20:54 by blueski palooski Reply
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  • Pierre Spies as usual no-where.

  • Comment 2, posted at 09.09.10 15:27:17 by CapeShark Reply
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  • @CapeShark (Comment 2) :

    Honestly, Spied did not have as bad a Tri Nations as everybody is making it out to be..

    But what will be interesting, and will shock everybody that understands these stats, is how this compares to the NZ team, even if they have only had 5 games so far.. Shocking in comparison.

  • Comment 3, posted at 09.09.10 15:30:40 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • Guthro.

  • Comment 4, posted at 09.09.10 15:31:51 by Morné Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 3) :

    I am sure someone said that before? ;)

  • Comment 5, posted at 09.09.10 15:32:44 by Morné Reply
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  • Unfortunately stats don’t tell the whole story, such as how poor a pass was or any other factor that had an influence on the ball being knocked.

    Hitting a ruck is one thing. Hitting a ruck and actually being effective at slowing down opposition ball is another altogether.

    Likewise, completing a tackle is one thing but completing a tackle which disrupts the opposition’s attack is totally different.

    Not dissing your article RF – they’re always a good read. Just not a great fan of stats, because they don’t tell the whole story ;-)

  • Comment 6, posted at 09.09.10 15:33:27 by rhineshark Reply
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  • Guthro guthro guthro

  • Comment 7, posted at 09.09.10 15:38:04 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
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  • Who was our best offensive tackler,ie who tackled the ball carrier back the most times?or who stopped the attacker frm passing in the tackle?who cn manipulate tackles that he cn drive the attacker towards greater numbers of defenders?tackle stats,and most rugby stats,dnt always cut the game open.

  • Comment 8, posted at 09.09.10 15:40:33 by bergshark Reply

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  • It’s interesting to compare the stats versus the perception. For e.g. Victor Matfield was perceived to be off-form but the stats show he had a respectable work rate while Gio Aplon was enthused about yet the stats show his hands where really crap.

  • Comment 9, posted at 09.09.10 15:41:36 by CapeShark Reply
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  • @rhineshark:my thoughts aswell!

  • Comment 10, posted at 09.09.10 15:42:22 by bergshark Reply

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  • @blueski palooski (Comment 1) :

    What about Ricky?? :roll: :twisted:

  • Comment 11, posted at 09.09.10 15:48:42 by wpw Reply
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  • Thanx for the feedback guys..

    I would love to tell you more, but unfortunately my resources are quite limited in this department. You have one website giving one set of stats. I try make the most of it..

  • Comment 12, posted at 09.09.10 15:52:25 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson: our comments are nt aimed at you,but rather how much more attention to the detail must be given to the guys that compile the stats.still,it cn help a coach,player fan see more clearer what happened on the field

  • Comment 13, posted at 09.09.10 16:01:13 by bergshark Reply

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  • @bergshark (Comment 13) :

    I know buddy.. Im not taking anything personally.. I wish I could supply and understand for myself the stats so much better.. It would make my job a whole lot easier if the stats were more in detail..

  • Comment 14, posted at 09.09.10 16:02:42 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson: thanx for going through the trouble of sifting through the stats and putting it in article for us all to read!

  • Comment 15, posted at 09.09.10 16:05:32 by bergshark Reply

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  • Honestly dnt thnk anyone deserving of 3nations mvp,but matfield also had a couple lineout steals,and a chip n gather to set up fourie’s try

  • Comment 16, posted at 09.09.10 16:13:10 by bergshark Reply

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  • mvp for any team = alain rolland :roll:
    mvp for boks = guthro

  • Comment 17, posted at 09.09.10 16:22:32 by VanWilder Reply

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  • Nice one Rich.

    Stats don’t tell you everything, but they help point you in the right direction.

  • Comment 18, posted at 09.09.10 16:23:00 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 18) :

    It makes for interesting reading..

    And once the All Blacks complete their 6 games, it does give you some form of comparison..

  • Comment 19, posted at 09.09.10 16:26:17 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 3) : it would be better to compare boks with wobblies, as the latter will probably end up with only one more game won than the boks.

  • Comment 20, posted at 09.09.10 16:32:57 by rekinek (back to rugby) Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 3) : I think the criticism about Spies is more that his lack of involvement seemed quite apparent. You would expect forwards to put their hands on the ball more than the backs.

  • Comment 21, posted at 09.09.10 16:35:40 by rekinek (back to rugby) Reply
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  • @bergshark (Comment 16) : yes, but boks dominance in the lineouts was nullified often by Abs and then Wallabies quick throws. last game I sat wondering why Steyn is not kicking the ball into the stands as this would prevent them from doing it.

  • Comment 22, posted at 09.09.10 16:37:39 by rekinek (back to rugby) Reply
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  • Just a little off topic: I see KP is coming to play a few games for the Dolphins.

  • Comment 23, posted at 09.09.10 16:37:43 by rhineshark Reply
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  • the other thing is that Steyn had 100 % (or very close to that) success rate in kicking for poles. If Carter was anywhere near that the defeats would look even worse.

  • Comment 24, posted at 09.09.10 16:39:16 by rekinek (back to rugby) Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 11) :Sheez, how could I forget McJanuarie!!! MVP at the buffet :mrgreen:

  • Comment 25, posted at 09.09.10 16:57:11 by blueski palooski Reply

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  • If you guys look at these averages, where do you think McCaw comes when it comes to tackles and rucks etc..

    I’d love to see if anybody got close..

  • Comment 26, posted at 09.09.10 17:21:19 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 26) : i’m smelling tricky question here…

    to get the ball rolling:

    in 5 games : 172 rucks attended and 50 tackles. :mrgreen:

    and now off to somewhere where I can find stats :mrgreen:

  • Comment 27, posted at 09.09.10 17:25:15 by rekinek (back to rugby) Reply
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  • Its not a guess if you go research it!!

    And please don’t go get the results and ruin my article next week!!

  • Comment 28, posted at 09.09.10 17:29:03 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 28) : i made a guess !!
    but now I want to check whether it’s correct – not sure whether I can wait whole week for the answer :???:

  • Comment 29, posted at 09.09.10 17:31:58 by rekinek (back to rugby) Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 28) : i’m not that mean ;-)

  • Comment 30, posted at 09.09.10 17:33:07 by rekinek (back to rugby) Reply
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  • I’ll quote Benjamin Disraeli: “There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics.”

    If you watched Spies, he was always in and around the action, but never actually contributing unless he had the ball in hand and some momentum behind him.

    Without the benefit of 20-20 hindsight thanks to Stats, I’d say his contribution to the Bok cause was absolutely atrocious.

    He runs around like a headless chicken, quite clueless – almost like Habana who has been so found out on rush defence as to be rendered a complete waste right now.

  • Comment 31, posted at 09.09.10 17:39:01 by Baldrick Reply

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  • Was that Disraeli? I always thought it was Mark Twain

  • Comment 32, posted at 09.09.10 22:17:40 by robdylan Reply
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  • If you really want to prove your point, you should add some made up stats to your made up quote.

  • Comment 33, posted at 09.09.10 23:27:25 by fyndraai Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 28) :

    Great arti Rich love your work !

    ….. would be interesting next week to pick a team of the Tri Nations based solely on stat’s. ;-)

  • Comment 34, posted at 09.09.10 23:48:02 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • @fyndraai (Comment 33) : 9 out of 10 Bulls supporters aren’t clever enough to figure out how to register here :)

  • Comment 35, posted at 09.09.10 23:49:41 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 34) : I think we may as well just pick the all blacks :)

  • Comment 36, posted at 09.09.10 23:50:10 by robdylan Reply
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  • Do us a favour and take Keegan Daniel’s or even Jacques Botes’ first 6 matches and compare it to Schalk’s.

  • Comment 37, posted at 09.09.10 23:53:44 by Jarson Reply
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  • @Jarson (Comment 37) : tempting, but you can’t really compare the opposition, now can you?

  • Comment 38, posted at 10.09.10 00:11:51 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 36) :

    I was hoping it would be slightly more exciting than that ! :???:

  • Comment 39, posted at 10.09.10 00:20:22 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 39) : OK, we can add a token Aussie.

  • Comment 40, posted at 10.09.10 02:07:04 by MysticShark Reply
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  • Have never been the biggest Matfield supporter(read 8th backline player), but he really stuck up his hand this 3N. Covering tackles, hitting rucks, chippies and is presence in the lineouts (though he need to analyze this before the RWC as the oke are onto him)MVP for Matfield. Well done Guthro. You have been a revelation. Putting those personal problems away certainly did the trick!

  • Comment 41, posted at 10.09.10 06:53:40 by catfish Reply
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  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 34) :

    Thanx Hert..

    Will certainly do a NZ stat arti.. and then we can have a look at a team based on stats, would be really interesting actually..

  • Comment 42, posted at 10.09.10 08:06:33 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • Something I did not put in the article which I picked up, but was not competely sure how it proves anything.. but our back three defence is appalling!

    Between Kirchner, Steyn, Habana, Aplon and Pieterson they missed 23 out of 106 attempted tackles.. thats a failure rate of 22%

  • Comment 43, posted at 10.09.10 08:12:26 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • I listened to people slating Matfield throughout the Tri Nations and I couldn’t see what people were complaining about. I thought his workrate was great. I’m glad to see the stats proved them wrong.

  • Comment 44, posted at 10.09.10 08:32:22 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 44) : he may not have had such great 3N but he was definately not the main culprit unless lack of leadership is teh vice. I think John, Victor and senior players in general were disappointing in this regard.

  • Comment 45, posted at 10.09.10 08:43:47 by rekinek (back to rugby) Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 32) : maybe one borrowed from the other .

  • Comment 46, posted at 10.09.10 08:45:30 by rekinek (back to rugby) Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 38) : still would be interesting to see the difference, if any.

  • Comment 47, posted at 10.09.10 08:46:55 by rekinek (back to rugby) Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 43) :

    I reckon Habana missed at least 50% of those tackles!! :roll: :shock:

  • Comment 48, posted at 10.09.10 09:07:05 by wpw Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 48) : I wonder what the WP did to Habana to make him so useless?? :twisted:

  • Comment 49, posted at 10.09.10 09:19:30 by Pokkel Reply
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  • @Pokkel (Comment 49) :

    Julle moet laaste praat. Enter one John ‘Vetgat’ Smit!! :mrgreen: ;-)

  • Comment 50, posted at 10.09.10 09:31:32 by wpw Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 43) :

    To me it seemed that our back 3 were often outnumbered. Two (or three) on one situations.
    It is easy to miss tackles then.
    A failing of the system, rather than the player.

    Nice work anyway.

  • Comment 51, posted at 10.09.10 21:06:59 by fyndraai Reply
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  • @fyndraai

    I agree with you on that point..

    That’s why I didn’t blame a specific player, it must be the situation surrounding the defence that has them missing so many tackles..

  • Comment 52, posted at 10.09.10 21:51:08 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • What about attacking stats?

  • Comment 53, posted at 11.09.10 13:00:56 by Hmmm Reply

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  • @Hmmm (Comment 53) :

    What type of attacking stats?

  • Comment 54, posted at 11.09.10 13:02:16 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 54) :

    Like line breaks…tackle breaks…successful passes…incomplete passes…knockons…carries per game…etc

  • Comment 55, posted at 11.09.10 23:22:56 by Hmmm Reply

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  • Was just thinking that it is difficult to make a SA pick of the tourno without that…

    I think then a few backline players might come into play…

  • Comment 56, posted at 11.09.10 23:30:10 by Hmmm Reply

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  • Hmmm
    You can’t be serious!! :shock:
    Our backline players were nowhere during this Tri Nations!
    No consistency!

  • Comment 57, posted at 12.09.10 07:28:08 by wpw Reply
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  • I tend to agree with you wpw..

    The only back that might get a place is Fourie.. He was solid on defence and had a few good line breaks, totalling about 7 if I remember correctly..

    Our back three were useless!!

  • Comment 58, posted at 12.09.10 11:25:13 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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