Boks v Argentina: by the numbers

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Springboks, The Rugby Championship on 24 Aug 2012 at 14:40
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

Let’s have a look at the player statistics for the Boks’ opening Rugby Championship match, courtesy of Verusco.

Possession numbers were exactly equal, with each side in control of the ball for exactly 40 minutes. They couldn’t be separated in terms of tackle effectiveness, with 91% each, but the Boks made slightly fewer tackles over all (148 to 161). The Argies conceded slightly more penalties (14 to 10) and also committed more handling errors (18 to 11).

Open side flanker Marcell Coetzee was the main man on defence, with 16 tackles from as many attempts. Next best were Willem Alberts (14 from 16) and Eben Etzebeth (13 from 13). Other players to maintain a 100% record on defence were Morne Steyn (8), Adriaan Strauss (6), Flip van der Merwe (6), Jacques Potgieter (6) and Ruan Pienaar (6). Pienaar emerged with the lowest mean time between tackles, making one good stop every 4 minutes he was on the field. Next best were Flip van der Merwe (4.5) and Coetzee (one tackle in 5 minutes over the course of 80 minutes).

Missed tackles were few and far between, with only Beast Mtawarira, Jannie du Plessis, Alberts and Francois Hougaard guilty of missing more than 1 on the day. Mtawarira’s 75% (6 from 8) was the lowest tackle effectiveness in the team and the only player to manage less than 80%.

Francois Hougaard won possession 7 times, followed by Andries Bekker, Morne Steyn, Lwazi Mvovo and Zane Kirchner who each did so on 4 occasions. Kirchner made the most running metres (73), just ahead of Bryan Habana (71) with hooker Strauss coming in a surprising third place with 61. Hougaard and Habana made 2 line breaks each, with Kirchner adding 1 as well. Offloads were clearly not a major part of the game plan, with no player making more than 1 in the game. Andries Bekker made the most passes outside of the halfbacks (12), but special mention must probably be made of Ruan Pienaar’s contribution of 28 passes in just 24 minutes on the park.

Alberts hit the most total rucks (24), ahead of Etzebeth (23) and Jannie du Plessis (20). Lwazi Mvovo was th top backline rucker, with 12. Pat Cilliers was the most active, though, hitting a ruck every 1.91 minutes he was on the field. Next best was Jacques Potgeiter (2.58) and then Jannie du Plessis (2.85).

No player committed more than 4 total errors, with that number being shared by Jannie du Plessis, Willem Alberts, Francois Hougaard and Jean de Villiers.

The most valuable player award is really wide open given these numbers, with nobody really staking much of a claim for it. Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Ruan Pienaar and Zane Kirchner are the four that came closest, so I guess you can pick your own winner out of that bunch!


  • nice, thanks Rob!

  • Comment 1, posted at 24.08.12 14:47:38 by molly Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition Winner Author
  • @molly (Comment 1) : pleasure.

    Makes for pretty disappointing reading, to be honest. Not a lot of anything really going on there.

  • Comment 2, posted at 24.08.12 14:50:44 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Nice to see Marcel playing so well for the boks as he does for the sharks. Keep it up!

  • Comment 3, posted at 24.08.12 14:56:44 by Viking Reply
  • @robdylan (Comment 2) : Ruan Pienaar’s stats are encouraging though. Hope he gets to start somewhere in the campaign.

  • Comment 4, posted at 24.08.12 15:06:46 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @robdylan (Comment 2) :

    Just as an aside. Etzie got a fairly low score in the player ratings article but after looking at the stats it seems he did quite a bit on defense and at ruck time.

    Not trying to be a stickler! just saying… πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 5, posted at 24.08.12 15:16:44 by wpw Reply
  • @vanmartin (Comment 4) :

    I thought Ruan played very well.

    Hope he gets a start soon. πŸ˜€

  • Comment 6, posted at 24.08.12 15:18:32 by wpw Reply
  • I am a huge Keegan fan, but his stats showed that he really did not have a good outing in his 50 minutes = 6 out of 7 tackles, -5 m with ball in hand. He did at least manage 1 play maker pass.

    To be honest I just don’t think he will ever shine for the Boks, unless the Boks drastically change the way they play – which is very unlikely.

    So Meyer is probably justified in using him off the bench to make an impact.

  • Comment 7, posted at 24.08.12 15:23:55 by Bokhoring Reply
  • Marcell Coetzee is the MVP because he cannot set a foot wrong at the moment… There, sorted. Also think Ruan Pienaar played well but he also has his off days occasionally and Hougaard is a gamebreaker

  • Comment 8, posted at 24.08.12 15:51:44 by The Sharks Sharkie Reply
    The Sharks Sharkie
  • Wayne Smith on


    β€œRaw stats don’t tell you a lot about the game, I don’t think so, for example, knowing that a player makes 10 tackles, that doesn’t tell you how effective he was. It might tell you a wee bit about work rate but it certainly doesn’t tell you about effectiveness. To determine how effective they’ve been, you need to weight them … did he get past the gain line, the speed of the ball from his tackle, did they get an offload away. All of those sorts of things, they determine whether they are effective or not.”

  • Comment 9, posted at 24.08.12 16:08:29 by Megatron Reply

  • @Bokhoring (Comment 7) : Keegan will have a hard time playing anywhere is Meyer gets his wish πŸ˜†

    Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer says he intends to discuss the concept of a unified playing style for all South African franchises with their coaches.

    β€˜In future I would like to install a national style of play and defence and all the attributes that go with it, and everybody should buy in,’ Meyer said.

    β€˜I am realistic and know you can’t force people to play the same, but there should at least be a common goal and places where you can touch base

  • Comment 10, posted at 24.08.12 16:26:36 by Megatron Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 9) : And once they have been weighted then the next ace will come along and tell you that they need further weighting for them to be really effective and so on.

  • Comment 11, posted at 24.08.12 16:28:34 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Megatron (Comment 10) : Like hell, I know many around here admire the Bulls and Stormers coaching styles but it doesnt do it for me. Boring and bereft of any individuality.

  • Comment 12, posted at 24.08.12 16:39:27 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @Megatron (Comment 10) : Now there is a quote which I intend not to take into my weekend! Can you imagine, I’d rather not…

  • Comment 13, posted at 24.08.12 16:55:18 by neilster Reply

  • @Megatron (Comment 10) : Good luck to Meyer doing that in SA – fortunately I should say

  • Comment 14, posted at 24.08.12 17:04:00 by Bokhoring Reply
  • and makes you wonder why ruan isnt starting yet but mostly because he isnt a bull

  • Comment 15, posted at 25.08.12 08:07:56 by Dunx Reply


Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.