Sharks v Force: by the numbers

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 15 May 2012 at 08:00
Tagged with : , , ,

The Sharks beat the Force by 53 points to 11 over the weekend and while the margin of victory was certainly impressive, our weekly statistical analysis provides some interesting – if not concerning – insights into the game. These numbers, as always, are courtesy of our friends at Verusco.

For the second week running, the Sharks achieved victory despite having less of the ball than their opposition (35 minutes with the ball against 45 for the Force) and were again forced to make more tackles overall (217 against 124). While most have praised the defensive effort, it was in fact less impressive that the previous week’s effort, with 89% of tackles being effective (as opposed to 86% from the Force). The Sharks made a whopping 21 handling errors, with the Force again slightly ahead on 23, while the home side conceded 16 penalties against the 22 of their visitors.

Looking at defence, it was again Jacques Botes (20 from 22 attempts) and Anton Bresler (19 from 19 attempts) who got through the most defensive work, with Marcell Coetzee (16 from 17) coming in third. Bresler and Fred Michalak (12 from 12) were the most accurate, although Craig Burden, Lwazi Mvovo, Louis Ludik, Wiehahn Herbst, Tim Whitehead and Meyer Bosman all managed 100% success ratings as well, albeit off a lower total number of hits. Charl McLeod and Pieter-Steph du Toit each missed the most tackles in total, with 3 misses apiece, each from 9 attempts (67%). Jean Deysel, with 2 misses from 4 attempts, had the lowest overall effectiveness, though (50%).

Unsurprisingly, given his two long-range intercept scores, Lwazi Mvovo is a clear leader in terms of metres gained (170m) with Ludik some distance behind him (100m – still impressive) and Pat Lambie third (75m). JP Pietersen is credited with the most line breaks (2), while Lambie, Keegan Daniel, Ludik, Whitehead and McLeod each made 1. Bismarck du Plessis made the most offloads (only 2) while Jacques Botes (10) and Anton Bresler (8) made the most passes outside of the halfbacks.

Botes bossed the rucks, hitting 25 in total, with the next best being 17 by Jannie du Plessis (a big improvement) and 15 from Beast Mtawarira. Paul Jordaan showed his value by hitting 14 breakdowns, more than any other backline player.

Looking at lost possession, Bismarck du Plessis coughed up the ball 3 times, with Keegan Daniel and Mayer Bosman guilty of doing so twice each. It was Daniel who conceded the most penalties (3) with McLeod and Du Toit responsible for 2 each. With a total score of 7 (2 missed tackles, 2 lost possessions and 3 penalties), I’m afraid the captain is the man with the highest total error rate. Dishonourable mentions must go to Charl McLeod, Bismarck du Plessis and Pieter-Steph du Toit, who are all in joint second with 5 errors each.

In picking a Most Valuable Player, we need look no further than Jacques Botes, based on these numbers, with Anton Bresler also deserving praise for standing out in a number of the categories. Lwazi Mvovo receives an honourable mention for his truly magnificent metres gained stat.


  • Am I mistaken, or is this the second time Deysel has been ineffective defensively when coming onto the field late in the game?

    Botes has proven himself this season, and is pushing himself to keep that starting jersey, keeping Springboks out of the team. Well done Bootsie!

    Very impressed with Lambie’s 75m gained in only 40 minutes.

  • Comment 1, posted at 15.05.12 08:06:03 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
  • Is the pick and drive no longer a Sharks tactic? According to rugbystats (which breaks down running metres into open, tight, pick&drive and kick return), the Sharks have made a paltry 4m (2m Daniel, 2m Burden) using pick and drive in this game.

    I still believe it is a very valuable tactic to start building up momentum

  • Comment 2, posted at 15.05.12 08:18:57 by Bokhoring Reply
  • The Reds made a total of 79m through p&d, and the Cheetahs (only SA side to really use this tactic) made 43m

  • Comment 3, posted at 15.05.12 08:27:01 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 3) : It is also one of the reasons the Cheetahs lost, they tried to pick and drive like fools the whole time when the Stormers were a man down , needless to say the Stormers defense won that battle

  • Comment 4, posted at 15.05.12 08:40:08 by sharks_lover Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 2) : I would say this is one of the area of the game missing from the Sharks’ game. We also haven’t made much meters with the maul. Mostly our meters has been made by our loose forward, or more specifically Marcell Coetzee.

    It’s all a bit one dimensional, but at least a few of the things we’re concentrating on is getting together now. We can’t expect these guys to pick and drive if they can hardly make enough clean passes and catches in a match to be effective.

    Well, that was more negative than I expected, 😐 but it’s the truth none the less.

  • Comment 5, posted at 15.05.12 08:41:07 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 5) : Pretty much all our tight metres in forward play are made from Marcell (or in previous matches Alberts), and the open play from Daniel.

    Is this not one of the causes of our general problems in the back line attack – the forwards do not create enough momentum to suck in the defenders – making the back line attack always run at a wall

  • Comment 6, posted at 15.05.12 08:47:19 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 6) : The problem is one guy can easily be stopped, I don’t even get how Marcell could have been this effective for this long. I thought surely it would die down with teams realizing his importance in our team, but he just keeps on going.

    Now he just needs to develop the skill to see when I pass is on the cards, that will put his game over the top.

    He’s been a huge find for the Sharks, but I fear he’ll be driven into the ground with workload as Alberts and Deysel was before him. Luckily he has their backup for some rest, but I don’t think the coach is pulling him for a rest soon. – I think Beast will take some of that workload soon. Bissie has been helping, but aren’t as effective anymore, Deysel and Kanko can also help from the bench.

  • Comment 7, posted at 15.05.12 08:52:51 by Letgo Reply
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  • Anton Bresler has the work-rate of a loose-forward. If only he works on his ball-carrying position an leg drive, he will pushing for higher honours very soon. I must give him credit for really raising his game.

  • Comment 8, posted at 15.05.12 08:56:13 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 6) : Marcell has set-up good enough go forward for Lambie and Whitehead to also make quite a few meters. Both of them looks really dangerous when they get good front foot ball. The only problem we’ve been having for the past few games is McLeod’s form. His passing used to be so good. Now Lambie almost always has to stop and take the ball behind his back or jump up and take the ball. That stops all the momentum the team had.

    I would love to see Plumtree bringing in a back-up scrummie that can play for 20min or so every week and maybe push for this position, or at least push McLeod to work on his game.

  • Comment 9, posted at 15.05.12 08:56:33 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 7) : I agree, it makes him an exceptional player. It is pretty much predictable what is going to happen, and he still manages to make the metres.

  • Comment 10, posted at 15.05.12 08:56:52 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Big Fish (Comment 8) :


    His lineout work has been really impressive as well, I am sure he is the number 1 option at the moment.

    Will be interesting to see if Skeate’s return will mean a drop to the bench for Bresler.

  • Comment 11, posted at 15.05.12 09:04:33 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
  • @Big Fish (Comment 8) : @Richard Ferguson (Comment 11) :
    Amen he is a great player :mrgreen:

  • Comment 12, posted at 15.05.12 09:08:04 by chaz Reply

  • Bresler’s has really picked up his game this season. Huge improvement in various fields of his game. Well, surely he is enjoying his rugby this season, because he was warming the bench most of last year. Shows what hard work and dedication can mean and do to a person. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 13, posted at 15.05.12 13:26:57 by Marge Reply


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