Waratahs vs Brumbies – What to expect

Written by Head Train Spotter (RuckinGoodStats)

Posted in :Original Content, Reader Submissions, Sharks, Super Rugby on 14 Jun 2011 at 10:00
Tagged with : , , ,

Normally I wouldn’t put such a piece in here, but this game does have a bearing on what the Sharks need to do this weekend. Of course there are those that will say regardless of the Waratahs v Brumbies outcome, the Sharks should still focus on beating the Bulls, actually not only this week, but in any and every week.

Based on Matt Giteau’s last kick against the Reds, the Waratahs will have to do more than just turn up and expect the win. The Brumbies seem to be improving albeit at the wrong end of the season. The Brumbies have a lot to play for, mostly for themselves and for those Brumbies who will run out in the jersey for the last time. So it’s not a case of roll over and take the win Waratahs.

So what do the stats tell us how the game will shape up? What are we likely to see when these teams run out? What are they going to have to control to get the right outcome? Let’s have a look.

Before we get into it too much, just the usual disclaimer all this data comes from me coding all the games, mostly live, so you get a constant as one person is making the call. The stuff I do you can follow me on twitter. I will pop in this forum to answer any questions, but I am on the other side of the world and prefer to be asleep so it might not be a fast response, but you will get one.

If we focus on the win its clear that if it comes down to penalties kicks, Matt Giteau is the person who has the edge. Giteau is kicking at 90% from penalties or 36 from 40. Not to take anything away from Kurtley Beale who is at a very respectable 72% (28 from 39 penalty attempts), but if it comes down to a penalty shoot out, I’d be giving it to Giteau. This is probably the only forum I could make such a statement without fear of reprisal as Giteau has his fair share of critics in Australia.

For penalties to go over they first have to be awarded. Conceded penalties is not something these teams do. The Brumbies are averaging 8.8 per game, which is the 2nd lowest in the competition. The Waratahs are 9th lowest in the competition for penalties, conceding an average of 9.3 per game.

Also key to penalties is the man in the middle. Craig Joubert is down for this match at the moment. I say this because there has been a fair amount of last minute changes to the refs. Joubert hands out few penalties, averaging 19 per game. This ranks him 14th lowest out of the 17th refs to award penalties. He is however like Marius Jonker not big on scrum resets ranking 16th lowest, but 4th highest in scrum infringements and uses free kicks as well as penalties. So last minute scrum set and a penalty could decide the winner, hold your breath…

Looking at tries in local derbies the Waratahs are average 3.1 tries per match compared to the Brumbies average 2.1 tries. While Giteau is slotting penalties when it comes to conversions, it’s a different story. Giteau is 63% for conversions (19 from 30) and Beale is 72% (23 from 32).

How they will get to the positions to score points shows differences. Ball in play/contestable time in the opposition’s 22 the Waratahs are average 6 minutes and 15 seconds per game 3rd highest in the competition. The Brumbies are 9th in the competition averaging with 4 minutes and 24 seconds. That is an important difference.

To get to the line you need to hold onto the pill and the Brumbies average 100.7 rucks and mauls per game, leading the competition. This is 20% more that the Waratahs who average 80.3 rucks and mauls per game. Both sides hold onto the ball into contact for roughly the same amount of phases with the Brumbies slightly ahead with 3.7 phases compared to the Waratahs 3.4.

To cross the line you need to the defenders to miss tackles, The Brumbies are 12th lowest in the competition missed an average of 12.6 per game. The Waratahs are 13th and miss an average of 11.9 per game.

So can the stats pick a winner? Maybe. There is a reason the ball is oval and why we love it. Things happen in the game, players make decisions that change the outcome of the game. I’m sure the Brumbies know what to do to win and it’s clear that they will want to win. It will be hard to beat the Waratahs at home who have just as much at stake. And given the crowd’s reaction to the Waratahs losing at home against Rebels, well that alone might be enough to focus the mind.

And as one seemingly not too bright front rower said after a 30 minute presentation on the multiple possibilities needed to make the semi finals “So we just need to win them”.

Looking forward to any questions in the forum, hopefully they are ones I have the stats for.


  • Very well writen and insightful. You have really outdone yourself in interpreting the stats to make it meaningful.

    Bottom line though, both teams has everything to play for and although the stats favours the Brumbies in my opnion, I cannot see them beating the Tahs at home. But anything is possible as the Cheetahs has shown earlier this season when they beat the Tahs.

    Lets hope for the best possible outcome for the Sharks and for that matter the Bulls as well.

  • Comment 1, posted at 14.06.11 10:46:41 by Viking Reply
  • “So we just need to win them”.
    Yes we do! 😛

  • Comment 2, posted at 14.06.11 11:17:08 by CapeShark Reply
    The Great Couch Shark
  • Great job.
    How about giving us one for the Bulls v Sharks game? 🙂

  • Comment 3, posted at 14.06.11 11:20:22 by Jarson (AddicteD) Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner
  • @Jarson (AddicteD) (Comment 3) : Hmm, when it gets to the fumbles and miss-tackles stat, it might get a bit embarassing. Ready for that? 🙂

  • Comment 4, posted at 14.06.11 12:40:38 by CapeShark Reply
    The Great Couch Shark
  • @CapeShark (Comment 4) : Jip, we learn through our mistakes don’t we? 😆

  • Comment 5, posted at 14.06.11 13:11:18 by Jarson (AddicteD) Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner
  • Joubert always favor the stronger team when he is reffing……pansy

  • Comment 6, posted at 14.06.11 22:24:53 by Honey Badger Reply

    Honey Badger

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