Sharks v Cheetahs: by the numbers

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 22 May 2012 at 08:00
Tagged with : , , , ,

It’s time for our weekly statistical analysis of the Sharks, courtesy of the numbers we get from Verusco. This week, we look at the recent 34-20 victory over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

Looking at the overall numbers, the Sharks once again had less of the ball overall (38 minutes against 42 minutes) and also had to make more tackles (225 against 212). These numbers are moving in the right direction, though, although the made tackle percentage dropped this week (87%) but will still higher than that of the Cheetahs (81%). The Sharks came out tops in handling errors too (17 against 15) and also conceded far too many penalties (13 against 8). They also lost 2 lineouts and 1 scrum… yet still won very convincingly!

Looking at the individuals, on defence it was Anton Bresler who made the most tackles, with 21 from 22 attempts. Next best was Paul Jordaan, with an amazing 20 tackles and no misses. Tim Whitehead (17 from 19) and Marcell Coetzee (17 from 18) share joint third position. There were few players to keep a perfect record on defence, with Jordaan joined by Meyer Bosman (7), Willem Alberts (5), Riaan Viljoen (3) and Ryan Kankowsi(1) as the 100% tacklers. Jannie du Plessis had the lowest tackle effectiveness (57%) but it was Steven Sykes who missed the most individual tackles, with 4.

In a rather amazing statistic, Bismarck du Plessis emerged as the player to make most metres with the ball (102m) followed closely by Fred Michalak (101) and Jordaan (90). Lwazi Mvovo made the most line breaks (3) with Jordaan again second (2). Bismarck, Marcell Coetzee and Keegan Daniel each made 2 offloads, while it was Jacques Botes (9) who made the most passes outside the halfbacks.

Botes hit by far the most rucks (33) with Bresler next on 24. Daniel and Jannie du Plessis shared third spot (22) with Tim Whitehead (15) the best among the backs.

Keegan Daniel was the main culprit in terms of lost possession (2) although that presumably included the time when he was forced to throw into the lineout and got it wrong. Daniel also conceded 2 penalties, as did Steven Sykes and Bismarck du Plessis. With Sykes conceding those penalties, coupled with the 4 missed tackles and a single lost possession from a missed lineout, he tops the total combined error score with 7, just ahead of Daniel.

Looking at the Most Valuable Player, I think we’ll be forgiven for singling out Paul Jordaan this week, for some great numbers in a strong field. Honourable mentions go to Anton Bresler and Jacques Botes once again for their massive donkey-work contributions up front.


  • Yes – skew / stolen lineout throws are included into the lost possession count

  • Comment 1, posted at 22.05.12 08:11:41 by Bokhoring Reply
  • Bresler eventually missing a tackle.

    Well done Paul Jordaan!

  • Comment 2, posted at 22.05.12 08:11:47 by Pokkel Reply
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  • Well done Paul!

  • Comment 3, posted at 22.05.12 08:13:03 by Ben Reply
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  • Jordaan seems to be improving every week 😎

  • Comment 4, posted at 22.05.12 08:15:42 by JarsonX Reply
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  • Botes is oud, maar nog nie koud 😛

  • Comment 5, posted at 22.05.12 08:16:32 by JarsonX Reply
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  • The stats are definitely looking better each week! Very proud of the boys!!

  • Comment 6, posted at 22.05.12 08:16:48 by Die Kriek Reply

  • Great contribution from young Paul. Gonna be a great match-up against de Jongh this weekend.

    Yet again Bresler’s work ethic stands out. I really admire the way he is applying himself week in and week out.

  • Comment 7, posted at 22.05.12 08:21:30 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • I wonder if it is time for Plum to tinker with the loose trio for the Stormers – maybe start Coetzee, Alberts and Daniel and then bring on Botes later. Probably better to leave it as is

    Bring Alberts on as a sub for Sykes

  • Comment 8, posted at 22.05.12 08:24:45 by Bokhoring Reply
  • 2 Things:

    1) Those defensive stats from young “Bushmaster” Jordaan certainly goes a long way towards allaying any fears over perceived defensive frailties. Nice to also see that we are seeing regular line breaks from our backs

    2) Anton Bresler is impressing the socks off me. He started slow, and at one point I was fairly convinced he was going to be overtaken by Jandré Marais in the pecking order, but he’s really worked hard at developing a harder edge, and at upping his lineout play. He’ll still go far if he continues showing this kind of commitment and apetite for hard work.

  • Comment 9, posted at 22.05.12 08:26:45 by Culling Song Reply
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    Culling Song
  • Bresler has taken his opportunity with both hands. Quietly turning himself into a real contender for higher honours.

  • Comment 10, posted at 22.05.12 09:27:33 by StevieS Reply
  • According to these stats Jannie seems like our weakest link!
    Missed tackles, penalties conceded . . .

    Maybe he`s in too much of a comfort zone at tighthead?

  • Comment 11, posted at 22.05.12 09:51:09 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @Culling Song (Comment 9) : how often though are those line breaks met with successful passes to another player..watching nz and aus rugby their line breaks are meant with great off loads to another player..the reds game on sat was a perfect example of this..wish the sharks would learn that kind of ball skill..

  • Comment 12, posted at 22.05.12 09:56:56 by shaniboi Reply

  • @Original Pierre (Comment 11) : Jannie’s positives:
    – credited with 22 rucks in 60 mins, about the same as Beast,
    – 0 penalties
    – made only 5m with the ball in hand
    – 57% tackle rate

  • Comment 13, posted at 22.05.12 09:59:24 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 13) : Well bottom line is, he will start. He`ll just have to play a blinder.

    Maybe the Stormers will risk starting Deon Fourie to act as extra fetcher for them? That`ll give us an advantage in the scrum! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 14, posted at 22.05.12 10:09:27 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @shaniboi (Comment 12) : Agreed; line breaks are only worth something if you can recycle the ball quickly or pass/offload to a player in space. HOWEVER, compare our current situation to last year, where our backline couldn’t fashion a linebreak even if you had a sniper picking off the opposing backline…

  • Comment 15, posted at 22.05.12 10:36:03 by Culling Song Reply
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    Culling Song
  • We need to give Jannie a lot more credit for his scrummaging work, which has been superb the last few weeks

  • Comment 16, posted at 22.05.12 10:42:25 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 16) : These three guys does seem to function well as a combination don’t they, before beast came back even Jannie’s scumming was questioned, not now the scrum looks really strong. That’s why they’re pegged as the top Bok choices I suppose.

  • Comment 17, posted at 22.05.12 12:04:28 by Letgo Reply
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  • I just wanted to point out again that not only does Botes get to the most rucks he gets there timely, in other words he provides ascendency at the ruck, not by brute force but by putting himself in the right position at the right time.

    Also the marked improvement in each players clearing since he has started should also be noted.

    I checked the stats, on average we’re hitting about the same amount of rucks per game, the difference being that in earlier games we would send 2 or 3 big guys charging in after the opposition is already over the ball. It’s not that easy getting a guys grip of the ball, and once you have to push him of the ball the ref feels like the player on the ground held on anyway.

    I hope Botes is showing his team mates the ropes here.

    I’ve been really impressed with the teams improvement in this area.

  • Comment 18, posted at 22.05.12 12:09:47 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 18) : You are right. Successful rucking is not about big brutes just charging in, it is about using your brains at the ruck

    This is the thing that really disappointed me about Plum these past 2 years. He is rated as a breakdown expert, and for a long time we consistently had the worst ruck technique and most turnovers conceded

    There has been a definite improvement in the past couple of games – shown in the lower number of ruck turnovers conceded

  • Comment 19, posted at 22.05.12 12:17:54 by Bokhoring Reply

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