Let’s have a look at the statistics from the Sharks-Leopards game last weekend, brought to us courtesy of www.ruggastats.com.
Once again, the stats really do make me question a number of the gut-feel calls I made in assigning player ratings and in a few cases at least, I probably should have given quite different ratings. I’ll be sure to point these out as we go!
The overall defensive stats for the Sharks were great, although with just a shade under 60% of total possession, they didn’t have to make a whole bunch of tackles. The team only missed 8 tackles out of 109 attempts – 93% effective overall, which is right up there with the best they have achieved all season. The Leopards hovered around the 86% mark, but were forced to make twice as many tackles and slipped 31 of those on the night, leaving plenty of gaps through which the Sharks could barge.
The best individual tackler in the Sharks team was Jacques Botes (12 tackles and 2 assists), although he did miss 1 attempt. Just behind him was Riaan Swanepoel (10 tackles and 2 assists), who didn’t miss any. Captain Keegan Daniel came in third, with 9 tackles and a single assist, again with none missed. Poor Odwa Ngungane was the worst defender statistically, missing 2 out of only 5 attempts for an effectiveness of 60%.
The most active ball carriers on the night were all forwards, with Mike Rhodes topping the stat (11 carries), which is impressive considering he only played the last hour of the game. Daniel, Craig Burden and Steven Sykes were joint second with 10 carries apiece, while Swannie was the most active back with 9 carries (tied with Jannie du Plessis!). Again, the Sharks opted for a very forward-dominated approach on the night, but it seems to be working, so we won’t complain too much. Burden made the most line breaks (4, or 40% of the times he carried the ball up), with Rhodes not far behind on 3. Burden also topped the metres gained stat, with 121 made, just a shade ahead of Swanepoel on 119 and Ndungane on 118. Just in case you’re starting to get concerned, yes – Swanepoel is definitely one player whose rating I got horribly wrong! He certainly contributed a huge amount that I didn’t pick up the first time viewed the game.
Let’s move on to the handling stats and again it’s here that there are a few surprises. Rory Kockott topped the overall statistic, with his 44 touches a good 25% higher than the 33 pulled off by Charl McLeod, who played for longer. Outside of the halfbacks, though, it was again Rhodes who touched the ball most (23 times). Sneaking up very close behind, though, was Steven Sykes, credited with 21 handles and 11 passes – more than any of the backs! Sykes is another player whose contribution, particularly in terms of the sort of continuity play that is usually Alistair Hargreaves’ forte, went unnoticed by many, but was nevertheless impressive.
Botes, as usual, topped the ruck attendance stat by quite some margin, hitting 38 in total (29 on attack and 9 on defence). Sykes came in second, with 30 and Eugene van Staden third (28). Swannie again gets an honourable mention here for hitting 26 rucks and coming in fourth.
Moving on to the errors, the Sharks were very sloppy indeed, committing 31 handling errors, an average of 1 for every ten times the ball was touched. Rhodes was the biggest individual culprit, with 4 knocks, while Kockott, Eugene van Staden, Ndungane and Louis Ludik committed 3 each. Rhodes also made 4 other errors and would be a good bet to take our “total screwup score” first place, where it not for van Staden’s four penalties, pushing his total to 9 (4 penalties, 3 handling and 2 other errors).Tweet