Let’s have a look at the individual and team statistics for the Sharks coming out of their narrow loss to the Lions this past weekend. Thanks go to www.ruggastats.com for these figures.
Probably the most interesting aspect overall, when looking at the defensive stats, is that for once, the Sharks were actually forced to make more tackles then their opponents. This is born out by the possession statistic, which shows that the Lions edged the overall contest by 53% to 48%. The Sharks dominated possession in the first half, but were pretty much blown away by the Lions’ continuity in the second period, where for at least 20 minutes, the visitors could do nothing other than tackle, tackle and tackle some more.
They performed that task relatively, well, though, with only 21 misses out of 216 attempts giving them a tackle effectiveness statistic of just over 90%. That rating doesn’t tell the full story, though, as 21 is still a big number of tackles to miss. The Lions were statistically slightly worse, missing 20 out of 199 attempts for an 89% overall effectiveness. The individual number were pretty high for the Sharks – higher than hey have been for some time, which in itself is a cause for concern. Willem Alberts win the awards for most tackles completed, with 20. Not far behind were Keegan Daniel and Andries Strauss (18 each), while Alistair Hargreaves and Pat Lambie each made 17. Not surprisingly, it was the guys forced to make the most tackles who also missed the most – Alberts, Daniel and Lambie each missed three attempts. Statistically, the worst tackler was Rory Kockott, who missed his only tackle attempt to give him 0%. Of the guys that actually played for a meaningful length of time, though, Louis Ludik was the main culprit, missing 2 tackles from 9 attempts for an effectiveness of 78%.
Alastair Hargreaves, on the balance of probability, is the guy who was the best overall defender on the day, for his 17 attempts (with 5 assists) and no misses whatsoever. Well done, Big Al!
Looking to ball in hand work, we again see that the Lions edged the Sharks in most areas (ball carries, line breaks, offloads and metres gained), a sure sign that John Plumtree’s plan to retain the ball and do all of the playing didn’t quite work out as planned. Daniel and Alberts did most of the carrying work, with 17 apiece, while Odwa Ndungane was the best of the backs (13). Lwazi Mvovo only carried the ball 9 times, a pretty clear indication that he could look for a bit more work like his older partner does. Mvovo, Ndungane and Stefan Terblanche made 2 line breaks apiece, but it was Mvovo who topped the metres gained statistic, with 156. Ndungnane and Ludik were only slightly behind on 149 metres each, showing that the Sharks did most of their attacking through the back three.
Handling numbers are again much as we’ve come to expect, with Daniel (26) and Alberts (24) the two players to touch the ball most often, outside of the halfbacks. It’s interesting to note that, again excluding McLeod and Lambie, Odwa Ndungane was the back to play the ball most often (20 times) – is that perhaps because he’s more creative than the centres we have? Ryan Kankowski was the best passer, with 14 successful passes (I wonder if the pass to Strauss, that bounced off him and into Doppies le Grange’s hands, counted?) The picture that emerges, though, is that all three of the loose forwards on the day did a huge amount of work with ball in hand, leading me to wonder whether there weren’t other, far less glamorous jobs that at least one of them wasn’t doing.
Moving on to the ruck attendance statistics confirms this suspicion somewhat. Eugene van Staden did the most work overall, arriving within the first three players 33 times (25 on attack and 8 on defence). Alistair Hargreaves was not far behind on 32, while third place was shared by Alberts and Andries Strauss (31 each). Steven Sykes probably deserves an honourable mention for hitting 25 rucks in total, given that he was only on the field for 52 minutes. Had he played the whole game with a similar work rate, he would have emerged on top with something like 38 or 39 rucks hits. Keegan Daniel only attended 20 rucks, lower than any other starting forward, which bears out the view that he’s not nearly as effective at this phase of the game as Jacques Botes is. Botes has been known to hit nearly 40 rucks in some games.
Moving on to errors, Ryan Kankowski and Odwa Ndungane were the main penalty conceders, with 3 each out of a team total of 13. Keegan Daniel topped the handle error count (4) ahead of Charl McLeod (3). Daniel wins the “total screwup score” contest for the week, though, with 2 penalties and 3 other errors adding to the fumbles and giving him a total of 9.Tweet