robdylan

Sharks v Pumas: by the numbers


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 13 Sep 2010 at 12:33
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Time for our weekly statistical analysis of the Sharks game, thanks to the Versuco stats kindly supplied by www.ruggastats.com.

Starting off with a look at defence, as always, we see that the Sharks as a whole did pretty well as a unit, a factor which pleased John Plumtree. Only 6 tackles were missed out of 114 attempts, making the resulting effectiveness statistic of 95% the highest of the Currie Cup season so far. While we were a little dismissive of the contributions made by the centres in our player ratings article, a fair bit of crow needs to be eaten, at least on defence. Riaan Swanepoel was the best tackler, putting in 16 hits, with one assist, and missing none. Just to put that into perspective, Swannie made twice as many tackles as the leading forward, Jacques Botes. One can forgive the backs for maybe being a little pedestrian on attack when they were contributing such huge numbers on defence. Second-best was Dries Strauss, with 11 stops, 2 assists and a single miss. Jacques Botes came in third with 8 tackles.

With so few missed tackles in total, it’s a little unfair to single out a worst tackler, since no player missed more than one attempt. Odwa Ndungane pulled off the fewest tackles over all (only one) but since he missed none, his success rate is pretty high! Statistically, Charl McLeod was probably the worst, since he only made 4 and missed one. That’s still 80%, though. Some credit must go to Rory Kockott, though, for pulling off the same number of tackles in 6 minutes as McLeod did in 74!

Craig Burden was the main man when it came to ball carrier, with his 13 just a shade ahead of Willem Alberts on 12. An interesting statistic sees McLeod way up the table this week, with 10 carries on his own, a sure sign that he tried to do more of the playing himself than in the past. McLeod and Lwazi Mvovo share the record for most line breaks, with 3 each, although with Mvovo only carrying the ball 6 times, his ability to break the line is truly phenomenal at 50%. Oom Stef Terblanche leads the metres gained stat with 132, just ahead of Mvovo (113) and Pat Lambie (105). Burden made the most mileage among the forwards (87 metres) with Willem Alberts just behind on 86.

The handling numbers were pretty high throughout, perhaps giving some credence to the view that the forwards spent a little too much time playing with the ball, rather than to the ball. Outside of the halfbacks, it was Ryan Kankowsi (21) and Alberts (20) who touched the ball most often. Here’s a worrying statistic, though. Pat Cilliers was the only forward to handle the ball fewer times than Riaan Swanepoel. How can it honestly be that even the tighthead prop gets his hands on the ball more often than the inside centre? Swannie only touched the pill 7 times, with Lwazi Mvovo one place further back on 6. Alistair Hargreaves(18) made more total passes than any player other than McLeod, which is an interesting testament to the man’s skill and workrate, but does make one wonder if he shouldn’t rather be playing a tighter game. Still, it’s awesome to have a second-rower with such sublime hands.

The ruck attendance numbers were pretty high all round – in fact, far higher than I would have thought, given that the Sharks struggled to produce clean ball for McLeod for large periods of the match. Plumtree has pointed fingers at the ref, accusing him of not spotting Puma skullduggery at the breakdown and the statistics would probably back that up; whatever the Sharks’ problem was, it wouldn’t appear to be caused by insufficient numbers at the point of contact. Steven Sykes tops the list, with 30 hits (28 on attack and 2 on defence), which is a bit below the benchmark of between 35 and 40. There were solid contributions from a number of others, though, with Jacques Botes (29), Eugene van Staden (28) and Pat Cilliers (26) all pulling their weight. Hats off again to poor bloody Swannie, who hit 23 rucks from inside centre.

Moving on to the error count, we see Eugene van Staden standing head-and-shoulders above everyone else with 4 penalties conceded. Oddy Ndungane was next worst with 2, while the team penalty count of 13 conceded was way too high, one would think. The 16 total handling errors were reasonably well distributed across the team, with no players in particular more guilty than others. When it comes to forced and unforced errors, Charl McLeod (5) and Ryan Kankowski (4) emerge as the real culprits. Our new “total screwup score”, which adds all errors together, has McLeod as the sloppiest player (1 penalty, 2 handling and 5 other errors) just slightly ahead of Kankowski. That pretty much confirms what we thought, I’d say.



16 Comments

  • Nice to see centers tackling so well!

  • Comment 1, posted at 13.09.10 12:40:52 by vanmartin Reply
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  • Must say that Swannie is growing on me. The guy gives his all and when you have a player like that in any team that you support, it’s tough not to like the guy!

  • Comment 2, posted at 13.09.10 13:16:32 by blueski palooski Reply

    blueski palooskiUnder 19 player
     
  • @blueski palooski (Comment 2) : jeez, you must find it hard to move with a 100kg behemoth growing on you :)

  • Comment 3, posted at 13.09.10 13:37:57 by robdylan Reply
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  • Then I stand corrected Rob. Seems our centres aren`t that bad at all.
    I`m worried about Odwa though . . .

  • Comment 4, posted at 13.09.10 13:45:21 by Original Pierre Reply
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    Original PierreSuper Rugby player
     
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 4) : well, is a centre’s only job to tackle?

  • Comment 5, posted at 13.09.10 13:49:45 by robdylan Reply
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  • From what I remember it didn’t look as though the game was played so much in the forwards, but it’s great to see them get so involved. And the fact that I didn’t notice indicates that it really is a team effort with everyone playing their part. Such a fast game opens up defences but it also leaves the attacking team vulnerable to turnovers, the most valuable ball any team can get.

  • Comment 6, posted at 13.09.10 13:54:13 by Donald Reply

    DonaldUnder 21 player
     
  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : No of course you`re right there but I was worried about Strauss` defense.

    But lets face it the centres we have now would rather run over a defender than through a gap . . . That`s something we have to rectify somehow. :roll:

  • Comment 7, posted at 13.09.10 13:57:30 by Original Pierre Reply
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    Original PierreSuper Rugby player
     
  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : Good point. I’d still take a center who can prevent a try above one that can create a try but can’t tackle :grin: .

  • Comment 8, posted at 13.09.10 13:58:16 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @Original Pierre (Comment 7) : Which raises another interesting question. How many good centres can you think of at Currie Cup level (excluding Boks)? Lambie (who’s now playing flyhalf), Bosman, who else?

  • Comment 9, posted at 13.09.10 14:02:47 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 9) : I was thinking Whitehead . . sorry wpw! :o

  • Comment 10, posted at 13.09.10 14:10:39 by Original Pierre Reply
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    Original PierreSuper Rugby player
     
  • @vanmartin (Comment 9) : good point. I struggled to find centres for my FL team. It’s just not a position that’s overflowing with talent.

  • Comment 11, posted at 13.09.10 14:14:02 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 11) : I wonder if this may not also be a symptom of one dimensional coaching at younger age groups? A lot of the centres seem to think their only role is the crash-ball.

  • Comment 12, posted at 13.09.10 14:21:41 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @Original Pierre (Comment 10) : Missed this one. Yeah, he does look promising. Is he getting regular starts in the Currie Cup? I haven’t watched a lot of WP games.

  • Comment 13, posted at 13.09.10 14:23:09 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 12) : could be, could be…

  • Comment 14, posted at 13.09.10 14:23:46 by robdylan Reply
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  • rob this is the problem with stats. you congratulate rory for making the same amount of tackles in a shorter period as charl did. but in actuality the reason for making more tackles is you don’t have the ball. so therefore you could actually question whether rory’s effect on the team is actually negative as the sharks kick a lot more possession away, leading them to defend more. You should rather congratulate players on less tackles and none missed, it means the team would have had far more possession.

  • Comment 15, posted at 14.09.10 07:44:17 by try time Reply

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  • another interesting fact is swannie hit the rucks 23 times. this would explain why he got the ball less than the forwards. he probably doesn’t understand the role of inside center, or the loosies were doing a matfield and playing inside centre.

  • Comment 16, posted at 14.09.10 08:02:15 by try time Reply

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