Richard Ferguson

Too close to call

Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :Bulls, Lions, Original Content, Sharks, Stormers, Super Rugby on 9 Jun 2011 at 13:19
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

We have two big South African derby matches this weekend, the most important of which will be the match between the Stormers and the Bulls down in Cape Town. For the loyal followers on this site though (well most anyway) will see the Sharks vs Lions game as just as important, if not even more so.

Looking forward to these match-ups, I am going to do a two in one article and summarize a tale of the tape for these matches.

The first of the two matches will be going down at Coca Cola Park in Johannesburg, and the Sharks will have to be very careful not to underestimate a strong Lions outfit. They will be motivated to do their best in their last match of the Super Season as they have a bye next weekend.

The Lions have proved over the last few weeks that they can score a good few tries, beating strong sides on their tour, and the Sharks, with their infamous leaky defence, will have to make sure we keep the Lions backs at bay. The Sharks are the worst performing South African team with regards to missed tackles whereas the Lions hold their own as second best.

The backline battle will be rather interesting as already mentioned, but it is the ruck and maul area where the Lions will target the Sharks. The Lions average the second highest amount of rucks and mauls in the competition and pick and go their way to multiple phases on attack. The Sharks will do well to keep them at bay.

Another shocking stat, and this seems to come about every weekend, is the amount of handling errors the Sharks make, being the worst team in the competition in this regard, whereas the Lions are the second best team holding onto ball. Looking at a weakness in the Lions pack it is their tendency to give away penalties when they are on the attack. The Sharks need to make sure we can capitalize on this.

The Bulls head to Cape Town for what could be the match to finally end their push to catch and pass the Sharks. The Stormers are the best defensive team in the competition and the Bulls will battle to breakdown a very strong defensive structure amongst a well oiled machine of backs.

Another problem for the Bulls is the fact that in every penalty conceded stat, they are the worst of the South African teams, and we know the Stormers will take full advantage of this fact, with the strongest lineout jumper in the competition making attacking lineout ball look easy.

Where the Bulls do have some advantage is in the scrums, and I’m not saying the Stormers are bad, statistically, the Bulls are the better scrumming team with regards to resets and conceding possession at scrum time. The Bulls are the top team in the competition in this regard, with the Stormers hovering around 11th position.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what the stats say should happen in a match, it all comes down to the teams on the day, and I can only see one thing happening for sure, and that is that both of these games will be tight and the margins will be small.

Thanx to Ruckingoodstats for their insights in putting together this article.


  • The Sharks team has been announced!

  • Comment 1, posted at 09.06.11 13:23:37 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • I can not call this one if Johann Sadie was playing then i would have given it to keo and his angels lol

  • Comment 2, posted at 09.06.11 13:27:34 by Muzi Reply

  • These two games is make or break for both while a loss for either will make things easier for the other. Pressure is building for a great game next week at rofstus.

  • Comment 3, posted at 09.06.11 13:33:41 by Viking Reply
  • @Viking (Comment 3) :

    I dont want next week’s game to be hyped as the pre-playoff playoff..

  • Comment 4, posted at 09.06.11 14:17:28 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard Ferguson
  • Wow Ferg, the way you`re making us sound the Lions should almost be favourites.
    Truth hurts I guess.

    I`ll admit I`m worried about Butch in mid-field. He could make a difference. Here`s hoping Hollenbach wouldn`t expect his dangerous no-look pass! 😈

  • Comment 5, posted at 10.06.11 06:23:35 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • Well lets just hope we can make the win and the stormers keep the bulls under their wings to start off with

  • Comment 6, posted at 10.06.11 08:11:21 by chaz Reply

  • @Original Pierre (Comment 5) :

    Im just trying to put things into perspective, without being too biased..

  • Comment 7, posted at 10.06.11 08:50:21 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard Ferguson
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 4) : Neither do I but everything points to it being exactly that. Regardless of what happens this weekend, the sharks and bulls will have everything to play for next week.

  • Comment 8, posted at 10.06.11 09:02:07 by Viking Reply

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