Let’s have a look at the player statistics from the first test against England, courtesy of our friends over at Verusco.
South Africa shaded the possession stakes overall, controlling the ball for 43 minutes against 37. Crucuailly, in those periods, the English were asked to make considerably more tackles (199 v 152), with both sides recording roughly equivalent success rates (England 87%, SA 86%). The Boks were slightly better in the error department, with 17 handling errors and 10 penalties better than the 23 and 13 that their visitors dished up. The Boks lost 3 of their own line outs, though, which is never good, while the English lost the ball 4 times on their own scrum put-in.
Willem Alberts made the most tackles over-all (14 from 17 attempts) with Jannie du Plessis (13 from 13) and Juandre Kruger (13 from 15) not far behind. Having missed none, though, it’s the big doctor who deserves the plaudits for best defence overall, with Morne Steyn (6 from 6) and Zane Kirchner (2 from 2) the only other members of the starting line up to return a 100% record. Pat Lambie (3 from 3) and Coenie Oosthuizen (2 from 2) managed the same. The best tackler in the back line, though, was Frans Steyn, with 11 tackles from 12 attempts.
Alberts, with his 3 misses, unfortunately also tops that stat, although you have to be trying to make tackles in order to miss them; the “where the hell were you?” award must go to Pierre Spies, who made only 4 tackles from 5 attempts in 80 minutes! Three players missed 2 tackles each – Ruan Pienaar, Juandre Kruger and Francois Hougaard – with everyone else who has yet to be mentioned missing 1.
Alberts and Morne Steyn were joint first in terms of metres gained, with 86 each, while Bryan Habana came on just behind them on 81m. Captain Jean de Villiers made the most line breaks (3) followed by Habana with 2. Alberts, Jannie du Plessis, Hougaard and JP Pietersen each made 1 line break. Frans Steyn was the main man when it came to offloads (5), with Alberts and Marcell Coetzee some way back on 2 apiece. Frans Steyn made the most passes outside of the halfbacks (10) with Coetzee (who allegedly doesn’t pass) just behind on 8.
Juande Kruger hit the most rucks (24), followed by Spies (23) – so that’s what he was doing all day! – and Alberts and Coetzee (22 each). Plaudits must go to Pat Lambie, who hit 10 rucks in just 40 minutes, more than any other backline player managed on the day.
Penalties were reasonably evenly spread, with no player guilty of more than 1 transgression. Alberts is credited (or is that debited) with losing possession 3 times, ahead of the 2 attributed to both Bismarck du Plessis and Pietersen. That figure, unfortunately, sees the big Sharks flanker top the combined error score with 6 (3 lost possession, 3 missed tackles).
In something of a first for us, though, we’re giving the same player (Willem Alberts) the Most Valuable Player award, based on his name featuring prominently in virtually every category. Well done, Big Vic!Tweet