Time for our weekly look at the match statistics from the Sharks game against the Highlanders, courtesy of Verusco.
From a team point of view, a number of things stand out, but none more so than the skewed possession stat that saw the Highlanders in control of the ball for 51 minutes against the Sharks’ 29. That, perhaps, was intentional from the Durbanites, since it’s more common for the side with the ball to concede penalties (even though playing without the ball is a sure way to avoid scoring tries). That said, the Sharks conceded 12 penalties in total to the Highlanders’ 10 and were also forced to do a lot more defending (a massive 239 tackles against just 89 from the visitors). The home side did better in the handling stakes, though, making 15 handling errors to the Highlanders’ 23.
Overall, tackling was a strength for the Sharks, with 92% of tackles making their mark, against just 80% for the Highlanders. Marcell Coetzee (23 tackles from 26 attempts) and Anton Bresler (21 tackles from 23 attempts) were the most active men on defence, with Pat Lambie, Jacques Botes and Paul Jordaan all managing 17 each. Of the men to not miss any, Lambie stodd above all others, with 100% success from 17 tackles, ahead of Keegan Daniel (13 from 13) and Bismarck du Plessis (12 from 12). Charl McLeod, Pieter-Steph du Toit, JP Pietersen and Louis Ludik were the other men to make all of their stops.
Coetzee, bizarrely, also missed the most tackles (3), with Ryan Kankowski, Jean Deysel, Beast Mtawarira, Jacques Botes and Bresler all missing 2 stops. It was poor old Kanko who ended up with the worst stats, though – his 2 misses came from just 4 attempts, giving him a 50% success rate. Deysel followed on 78% (2 misses from 9 attempts).
Louis Ludik made the most ground with ball in hand (79) ahead of Daniel (68) and Coetzee (54). Daniel made the most line breaks (2), with Ludik and Lwazi Mvovo each managing 1. Ludik and Mvovo made the most offloads (2 each) while it was Daniel (6) and Steven Sykes (5) who made the most passes outside of the halfbacks. The fact that Pat Lambie himself only passed the ball a total of 7 times does show that it wasn’t a day for the ball to be run through the hands.
Ruck and maul attendance was low overall, with Jacques Botes (22), Bismarck du Plessis (16) and Anton Bresler (15) the only players to hit any number.
Lost possession was a problem, with Jordaan and Pietersen spilling the ball 3 times apiece, with Bismarck not far behind on 2. Sykes, Botes and Coetzee were the main culprits at penalty time, each being blown up on 3 separate occasions. That amounts to 75% of the total penalties going against just 3 players, which isn’t really good enough.
The unthinkable has indeed happened this week, I fear, with Marcell Coetzee topping the combined error rate score with 6 (3 penalties and 3 missed tackles), although he was ably supported by Botes and Sykes, who got 5 each.
Picking an MVP based on these stats is tough, but once we’ve eliminated the guys who made the most mistakes and weighed up the other contributions, we’ve decided to share the award between Anton Bresler and Louis Ludik, both of whom made solid contributions to the win, albeit in quite different ways.
It needs to be emphasised here that this award is based on only a handful of summary statistics and thus can only be as objective as the subset of data we’re given to work with. In other words, it’s quite possible that we’ve overlooked much of the good work done by Pat Lambie on Saturday, but I’m sure he’ll take plenty of comfort in the official Man of the Match award he received from Supersport, which was also richly deserved.Tweet