Sharks v WP – by the numbers

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks, WP on 11 Oct 2010 at 17:23
Tagged with : , , , , ,

Brace yourselves, Sharks fans, because it’s time to have a look at some of the statistics to come out of the Sharks’ disappointing loss to Western Province on Saturday. The figures, as always, are brought to you by

Starting with defence, as always, it’s not altogether surprising to see that the overall effectiveness is way down on what it was against the Leopards. The Sharks were forced to make a lot more tackles and also missed a whole lot more this week – 23 out of 159 attempts, leading to a team effectiveness of just over 85%. That’s low compared to the 90%-plus figures we’re used to and may point to a lack of intensity. Province obviously wanted the game more, hence were prepared to put more into their tackles. Which is why they only missed 24…. hey! Wait a minute? Province missed more tackles than the Sharks. And they also attempted more tackles! So although their effectiveness is a little higher (86%) it’s not really enough to have made that much of a difference. Funny thing is, Province had more of the ball, yet were forced into more tackles. Could that mean, in some way, that even though they kept the ball longer, they made it harder for the Sharks to actually tackle them? The stats aren’t going to show a “missed tackle” caused by effective use of space, now are they? Something to ponder, but I digress!

For the Sharks, Jacques Botes was the best tackler, with 18 hits, 6 assists and no misses. Mike Rhodes came second (14 tackles, 1 assist and 2 misses) followed by Dries Strauss in third (12 tackles, 1 assist and 1 miss). There were plenty of culprits when it comes to missed tackles, but good mates Jannie du Plessis and Ryan Kankowski top the chart with 3 each. Oddie Ndungane was statistically the worst, though, missing 2 tackles out of only 4 attempts, for a 50% return. Al Hargreaves does deserve a special mention, though, for only attempting 3 tackles in total, although, to his credit, he didn’t miss any of those.

Looking at ball in hand stats, we start to see the big difference between the two teams. Both sides carried the ball up about the same number of times (Sharks 106 v WP 108) but the home side broke the line almost twice as often as the Sharks did (16 times, against 9) and made a lot more progress with that ball (1066 total metres gained against 724). This goes some way to explaining how the Sharks look about the same as WP when it comes to missed tackle stats… they would have made more tackles if they could catch the WP guys in the first place! Where Province did very well on the day was halting the momentum of the Sharks ball carriers – particularly the forward – with the result that none of them made as much ground with ball in hand as we’re used to seeing.

Bismarck du Plessis and Odwa Ndunange each carried the ball up 10 times, with the latter sharing the record for most line breaks with Jacques Botes (2 apiece). The entire Sharks three-quarter line managed only 3 line breaks between them, as opposed to 12 by their WP counterparts, which goes some way to explaining the result. On a day when none of the Sharks made more than 100m with ball in hand (Pat Lambie got closest with 99), Bryan Habana, Jacque Fourie, Gio Aplon and Jean de Villiers all exceeded that mark for the home team.

Moving on to the handling stats, it’s probably not surprising that Pat Lambie touched the ball more often than anyone outside the halfbacks (26 times) given that he moved to flyhalf later in the game. It’s not a very edifying statistic in any case, save for the somewhat shocking fact that two of the starting backs, Dries Strauss and Lwazi Mvovo, touched the ball a paltry 6 times each during the course of the match. Province’s numbers are way higher pretty much across the park, an indication of their willingness to do more with the ball they had, throw it around and exploit the gaps that they found.

Ruck attendance was pretty even, but as always, the stats only show which three players hit each breakdown first, rather than giving any indication as to the effectiveness of that hit and the quality of the resulting ball. In terms of workrate around the park, though, hats off to Jacques Botes (again), who topped the ruck attendance stat with 42 (27 attack, 15 defence) and Gerhard Mostert, just behind on 41 (29 and 12). Hargreaves was again anonymous in this phase of the game (hitting only 17 in total), making me wonder, if he wasn’t tackling, running, passing or hitting rucks… what exactly was he doing?

Looking at errors, the Sharks committed way fewer handling errors than Province, (21 to 31) and gave away only slightly more penalties (11 to 9). Rory Kockott stands out in the former category, with 6 handling mistakes double what anybody else committed. the Bethlehem Bros gave away 2 penalties each, as did Kockott and Rhodes. Total screw up score prize this week belongs to Kockott, of course, with his 10 total cock ups far outstripping the 6 that Kankowski managed on the day.


  • Interesting, confirms my feeling that the Sharks did a very good job of protecting the ball, but didn’t really do much with it other than protect it well. WP was much more willing to move the ball around and probe the defensive lines. The interesting thing is this is what the Sharks have been known for this CC, willing to move the ball around and probe the defensive lines. It seemed from the kick-off the Sharks were kicking a lot more ball away than in other CC matches this year. Would really be interested in seeing the kicking stats in this match compared to the Sharks other matches. I am willing to bet the Sharks kicked the ball much more than in any other CC match this season.

  • Comment 1, posted at 11.10.10 17:40:46 by Dancing Bear Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Dancing BearTeam captain
  • I hope Hargreaves enjoyed his holiday and will be back raring to go in the semis. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 2, posted at 11.10.10 17:48:04 by Dancing Bear Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Dancing BearTeam captain
  • With Botes’ incredible workrate both defensively and rucks hit, it is very hard to every justify not starting a match with him in the 6 jersey. I really think we need to stop looking at Keegs as a replacement for Botes, he really is an 8 or impact 7 or 8. It is too bad, because he is an inspirational player, but we always seem to miss Botes when he is not on the field.

  • Comment 3, posted at 11.10.10 17:51:50 by Dancing Bear Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Dancing BearTeam captain
  • Spot on with that last one. Keegs is no 6

  • Comment 4, posted at 11.10.10 17:58:03 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
    robdylanHead Coach
  • Deysel missing piece in the puzzle bt at least alberts will b back.i didnt rate mcleod high bt after seeing kocket…we need dept in the no 9. Jacobs is also looking good.

  • Comment 5, posted at 11.10.10 18:15:49 by Gotti Reply

    Under 21 player
  • @Gotti (Comment 5) : Kockott was outclassed by the widely vilified ricky januarie, does that mean Kockerott doesn’t deserve to play for the Sharks?

  • Comment 6, posted at 11.10.10 18:30:55 by Megatron Reply

    MegatronSuper Rugby player
  • No mention of the way Ricky outplayed Rory?? :mrgreen:

  • Comment 7, posted at 11.10.10 18:37:27 by wpw Reply
    wpwAssistant coach
  • Snap!
    Will teach me to refresh more often!! :roll:

  • Comment 8, posted at 11.10.10 18:39:35 by wpw Reply
    wpwAssistant coach
  • So I guess my ratings weren’t as spot on as Rob’s are.

  • Comment 9, posted at 11.10.10 19:10:16 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard FergusonCoach
  • Here’s some numbers for you.

    The provinces hosting the semi-final and/or final matches of the CURRIE CUP PREMIER DIVISION shall pay the visiting province the following amounts within 14 days from the date of the semi-final and/or final matches
    Final: R500 000
    Semi-Final: R250 000
    For the semi-final and final matches of the CURRIE CUP FIRST DIVISION no levy shall be payable by the hosting province to the visiting province.

  • Comment 10, posted at 11.10.10 20:16:57 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©Head Coach
  • Marius Jonker,Sharks vs bulls good or bad?

  • Comment 11, posted at 11.10.10 21:07:57 by Honey Badger Reply

    Honey BadgerCurrie Cup player
  • Better bet then optometrist, Mark Lawrence :shock:

  • Comment 12, posted at 11.10.10 21:52:04 by Charlie Reply

    CharlieSuper Rugby player
  • We really need to come out in numbers and pack the Shark Tank this weekend, none of this saving for the final rubbish, cause we saw what happened last year. We need to give the boys an advantage for finishing top of the log and make it hell for the bulls!

  • Comment 13, posted at 12.10.10 00:11:30 by RuckingFun Reply

    RuckingFunTeam captain
  • Personally I’m loving the way the media has already decided that its going to be a province/bulls final. They must keep it up, and write us off completely…

  • Comment 14, posted at 12.10.10 00:22:39 by RuckingFun Reply

    RuckingFunTeam captain
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 10) :

    So the Sharks will be out of pocket R750 000 over the next three weeks?

  • Comment 15, posted at 12.10.10 07:43:09 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard FergusonCoach
  • @RuckingFun (Comment 13) :

    I agree. If Province can sell out for a little league game, we need to pack out the stadium!

  • Comment 16, posted at 12.10.10 07:46:46 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard FergusonCoach
  • I said it last week, and I will say it now again, the Sharks lack strike running power which is why they are great in securing and keeping the ball, but useless in converting it into points a lot of the time…

    If your main strike runner (outside center) is Stefan, you know you have problems.

    Add Odwa who is not a strike runner and Lambie who, when it comes to strike running has no hope in hell it only leaves you with Mvovo.

    No Deysel, or Alberts, and you will start to get the picture…

  • Comment 17, posted at 12.10.10 09:28:33 by Morné Reply
    MornéTeam captain
  • I thought Jonker was a huge bull but then again I also thought Mark Lawrence leant towards the Sharks.

    I`ve been proofed wrong on more than one occasion.

  • Comment 18, posted at 12.10.10 09:49:08 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original PierreSuper Rugby player
  • something worth mentioning is the fact that the top 3 sides all lost 4 games, so for once the sharks superior bonus point ratio got us the ticket. well done, it was something we as supporters was worried about, our incapability of getting 4 tries and losing by more than 7 points.

  • Comment 19, posted at 12.10.10 09:56:13 by VanWilder Reply

    VanWilderCurrie Cup player
  • @Morné (Comment 17) : agree, and it seems the lions are full of strike runners of late… Killian, Van Rensburg and Taute. even doppies and murray gets the odd hole in the defence.

  • Comment 20, posted at 12.10.10 09:58:23 by VanWilder Reply

    VanWilderCurrie Cup player
  • Don’t need stats to know that the Sharks kicked a hell of a lot more!

  • Comment 21, posted at 12.10.10 15:51:16 by The Sharks Sharkie Reply
    The Sharks SharkieVodacom Cup player
  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 1) : You asked about the kicking stats of previous games compared to the past Saturday’s game vs Province.

    I went to the trouble of looking up the kicking stats of the past 4 games and below have compared them to the kicking stats in the Province game.

    *NOTE: Sharks score first; Sharks stats only.

    10 September 2010 Vs Pumas in Witbank (away):
    FINAL SCORE: 30-14
    KICKS: 8 (4 to Lambie-No10; 3 to Terblanche-No15)
    BALL HANDLES TO KICKS: 32 ball handles for every 1 kick.

    A lot of the kicks come from the flyhalf (No10) who is kicking for touch when deep inside our half, or the kick comes from the fullback most probably returning from fielding a kick from the opposition and launching a counter-attack.

    18 September 2010 Vs Cheetahs in Durban (home):
    FINAL SCORE: 30-16
    KICKS: 13 (7 kicks by Lambie-No10; 3 to Ludik-No15)
    BALL HANDLES TO KICKS: 21 ball handles to every 1 kick

    More kicks against quality opposition as opposed to the Pumas one of the minor unions. We did, however, win with a bonus point.

    25 September 2010 Vs Lions in Jo’burg (away):
    FINAL SCORE: 20-22
    KICKS: 10 (7 kicks by Lambie-No10)
    BALL HANDLES TO KICKS: 32 ball handles to every 1 kick

    1 October 2010 Vs Leopards in Durban (home):
    FINAL SCORE: 63-6
    KICKS: 8 (4 kicks to Kockett-No9 & 2 kicks to Pretorious-No10)
    BALL HANDLES TO KICKS: 40 ball handles to every 1 kick

    And finally we come to the game against Province this past weekend. Look at the stats and decide for yourself how much more we kicked (if at all):
    FINAL SCORE: 21-33
    KICKS: 15 (6 kicks within the halfbacks; 5 kicks by Lambie who moved to flyhalf)
    BALL HANDLES TO KICKS: 18,5 ball handles to every 1 kick.

    I think that is more kicking but not over the top either. Remember the Sharks were sitting comfortably and had nothing much to lose going into the game.

    The average “ball handles to kicks” ratio in the games against the Pumas, Cheetahs, Lions and Leopards was 31:1, that is 12 and a half more ball handles per kick than in the Province game.

    I’m sure Plum was just experimenting… At least I hope so!

  • Comment 22, posted at 12.10.10 17:21:25 by The Sharks Sharkie Reply
    The Sharks SharkieVodacom Cup player
  • @The Sharks Sharkie (Comment 22) : Thats a whole article rob! post it if u like!

  • Comment 23, posted at 12.10.10 17:22:15 by The Sharks Sharkie Reply
    The Sharks SharkieVodacom Cup player
  • On review of all the ball handle/kicking stats here is what I found:

    Ball Handle to Kicking Stats

    Vs Griquas (away): 18 to 1 (lost 34-40)
    Vs Bulls (home): 16 to 1 (won 34-28)
    Vs Pumas (home): 25,5 to 1 (won 27-17)
    Vs Cheetahs (away): 19 to 1 (won 25-13)
    Vs Lions (home): 55 to 1 (won 48-19)
    Vs Leopard (away): 22 to 1 (won 51-6)
    Vs WP (home): 25 to 1 (won 27-16)
    Vs Griquas (home): 33 to 1 (won 48-30)
    Vs Bulls (away): 17,5 to 1 (won 34-40)
    Vs Pumas (away): 32 to 1 (won 30-14)
    Vs Cheetahs (home): 21 to 1 (won 30-16)
    Vs Lions (away): 32 to 1 (won 20-22)
    Vs Leopards (home): 40 to 1 (won 63-6)
    Vs WP (away): 18,5 to 1 (won 21-33)

    So on average, through-out the entire tournament, for every 27 times the Sharks handled the ball, they kicked it once!

    Do notice though that we kicked the ball the most when facing the Bulls and the least (amoungst the big 5) when facing the Lions.

  • Comment 24, posted at 12.10.10 17:46:39 by The Sharks Sharkie Reply
    The Sharks SharkieVodacom Cup player

Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.