It’s time for our weekly statistical analysis of the Sharks’ most recent performance, against the Cheetahs in Durban. The boys ran out to a frankly huge lead after 25 minutes or so, courtesy of some fine work on attack against a Cheetahs side that started awfully. Poor discipline, coupled with some shoddy defending, saw the visitors make a strong comeback in the second half, though. Let’s look at how the team performed, based on the numbers provided by www.ruggastats.com.
One highly positive aspect this week was the set-piece effectiveness, where the Sharks managed a 100% return, a huge improvement on their previous outing against the Pumas. That was offset somewhat by a far worse defensive effort which saw a total of 26 tackles missed out of 223, for an overall effectiveness of around 88%. Add the 18 penalties and 32 other errors to the pile and a picture starts to emerge of a pretty sloppy performance – particularly in the second half, after the Sharks clearly believed they’d done more than enough to win handsomely in the first half hour.
Looking at the individuals who stood out on defence – both heroes and villains, we see two forwards putting their hands up strongly for the “best defender” award. Marcell Coetzee made 23 hits, but also missed 4 others, leaving him as the joint-highest tackler numerically. His 85% success rate, though, pales in comparison with the 100% record maintained by Jandre Marais, who also put in 23 stops – in only 59 minutes on the park! He also managed 5 tackle assists and 2 turnovers, capping off a truly remarkable defensive performance. Every other forward on the park missed at least one tackle, with the exception of hookers Craig Burden and Kyle Cooper, who put in 13 and 3 hits respectively without failure.
After Marais and Coetzee, Anton Bresler was the next busiest on defence, with 18 hits, while Ross Cronje did his bit for the backs, weighing in with 15 tackles of his own.
Looking to the main culprits on defence, I’m afraid it’s out mercurial flyhalf, Fred Michalak, who stick out for all the wrong reasons. Freddie missed a total of 6 out of his 14 attempts (58% effective), twice as many as the next biggest offenders, Coetzee and Bresler, who missed 3 each. Meyer Bosman deserves a mention for drastically improving his effectiveness to 90%, with only 1 miss in 10 attempts.
Coetzee again stands out as the player who made the most ball carries, with 14. Keegan Daniel (8) and Bosman (7) were quite some way behind, with Daniel the only forward to make a line break. Amongst the backs, Michalak, Stefan Terblanche, Louis Ludik and Mark Richards were credited with one line break each, while the flyhalf made the most ground on attack, gaining 87 metres with ball in hand. Ludik was not far behind (85m) with Bosman coming in third (75m). The forwards didn’t make all that much progress this week, with Daniel’s 59m the best effort.
Jacques Botes stood out as the player to handle the ball most (excluding the halfbacks) with 14 touches, just slightly ahead of Coetzee (13) and Daniel (12). Among the backs, Terblanche (13) and Ludik (12) were the most involved.
Looking at the breakdowns, Anton Bresler reigned supreme, with 31 rucks hit. Jandre Marais turned in an very creditable 26 hits in his hour on the field, which puts him in third place behind workhorse Botes, who came in with 28.
Looking at errors, it was Captain Keegan who topped the penalties conceded stat, with his 4 just pipping Craig Burden, who conceded 3. Ross Cronje committed 6 handling errors in 63 touches, which is not a terrible stat for a scrumhalf, with Michalak coming in second with four handling errors. Adding the 3 “other errors”, along with the missed tackle, it’s again Michalak who comes out on top of the “total screwup score” rating, with a total of 13, just ahead of Cronje (10) and Daniel (9).
Based on the stats above, our award of “statistical man of the match” goes to Marcell Coetzee, for having the biggest combined impact on attack and defence.Tweet