Boks v Australia – by the numbers

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Springboks, The Rugby Championship on 12 Sep 2012 at 10:10
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Let’s have a look at the match stats for the Bok game against Australia, last week, as always, courtesy of Verusco. It’s a bit late, of course, but perhaps Heyneke Meyer might one day find these and use them to help him make better decisions… we continue to live in hope

The Boks had slightly more of the ball (41 minutes in control against 39) and the tackle count was also very close (143 to the Boks, 132 for the Wobblies). Both sides also made exactly 88% of their tackles stick. The Wallabies committed more handling errors (19 to 7) and conceded more penalties (12 to 10), yet somehow still won…

The bet Bok on defence was Marcell Coetzee (14 from 15), ahead of Willem Alberts (11 from 14) and Duane Vermeulen (11 from 12). Flip van der Merwe was the busiest on defence, with a good tackle for every 3.8 minutes on the field, followed by Coetzee (4.08) and Johan Goosen (5.97). Frans Steyn and Jannie du Plessis each missed the most tackles (4), while Jean de Villiers (3 from 5) had the lowest percentage with 60%.

Ruan Pienaar won possession 7 times, followed by Zane Kirchner (6) and Francois Hougard (5). Amazingly, it was Morne Steyn who made the most metres with ball in hand (92), ahead of Kirchner (67) and Frans Steyn (63). The only linebreaks in the entire game belonged to Goosen and Lwazi Mvovo, with 1 each. Needless to say, there were hardly any offloads, with Jannie du Plessis, Vermeulen, Bryan Habana and Kirchner each making 1.

Apart from Ruan Pienaar, there really were very few passes, with Juandre Kruger making 9 – one more than flyhalf Morne Steyn. Next best were Frans Steyn and Kirchner, with 6 each.

Vermeulen hit the most rucks (21), followed by Kruger (17), then Beast Mtawarira, Alberts and Adriaan Strauss, with 14 each. Francois Louw was the busiest rucker, hitting one ruck for every 2.3 minutes on the field, ahead of Pat Cilliers (2.83) and Flip van der Merwe (3.16).

Jannie du Plessis committed the most individual errors (6 from 4 missed tackles and 2 penalties) while Vermeuelen, Alberts and Frans Steyn each made 4. Note that the loose forward who got dropped, Coetzee, committed only 1 error…

Based on these numbers, there really isn’t a most valuable player, so I’m not going to bother trying to argue why someone should win it. In a nutshell, they were all shyte!


  • How do they measure metres with ball in hand? It must count metres run inside the 22 before kicking the ball as well – that’s the only way that MS and ZK can have notched up any metres.

  • Comment 1, posted at 12.09.12 10:19:59 by CDRhino Reply
  • @CDRhino (Comment 1) : 😀

  • Comment 2, posted at 12.09.12 10:24:21 by King Shark Reply
    King Shark
  • Unfortunately in Rugby stats meters gained is what you and me would actually see as meters ran. As in every meter you moved forward with the ball in hand, even if you never GAINED any meters across the advantage line or past the first tackle.

    I would like to see Rugby stats have a Meters Ran stat and a Meters Gained Across Advantage Line stat.

    That would give a better indication of who really got the team on the front foot.

    Morne stands about 15 meters behind the advantage line (maybe even more) So for him to make 90 meters (only from flyhalf, which we know that 90 meters was not) he would have had to take the ball to the contact point (without any success) 6 times.

  • Comment 3, posted at 12.09.12 10:30:49 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • In the first half, just before we scored that try that we should have scored 3 set pieces back, Morne ran a couple of times, but if he had passed (or known how to pass) we would have scored that try a lot earlier.

    So people say he’s kicking to much and he’s not a running flyhalf and he tries to prove that they are wrong by running the ball when there is a 3 player over lap outside him. Idiot.

  • Comment 4, posted at 12.09.12 10:34:27 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • It says a lot when your lock passes the ball more than your flyhalf does..

  • Comment 5, posted at 12.09.12 10:35:50 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard Ferguson
  • gives a better breakdown (tight, open, pick & drive, kick return, flyhalf run, scrumhalf run) but they have totally different running stats than Verusco:

    Morne – 35m and Kirchner 5m – so I am not sure how accurate that is.

    Morne’s sound about right, but Kirchner (even for him) is a bit low

  • Comment 6, posted at 12.09.12 10:39:11 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 6) : Maybe they do count Meters GAINED and not just meters RAN. Kirchner never got the ball over the advantage line, I wouldn’t even know where to give that 5m to him.

  • Comment 7, posted at 12.09.12 10:41:02 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Letgo (Comment 7) : They have a section for kick return which I assume will not count as over the advantage line – so I am pretty sure they count all runs regardless from where you start

  • Comment 8, posted at 12.09.12 10:55:29 by Bokhoring Reply
  • This from an article on the roar:

    Between them, Goosen and Lambie
    made 39 running metres from 19
    minutes of game time. Contrast that to
    Morne Steyn and Zane Kirchner who
    produced 40m across the turf in 145
    minutes on the field. That is why
    South Africa lost this match.
    It wasn’t just their own running
    metres that improved the side either.
    As soon as Goosen went on his first
    gallop, Jean de Villiers and Francois
    Steyn had more room to operate
    because of the inside threat.
    Meyer needs to start Lambie at the
    back in their next match and bring

    Goosen on much sooner. That is only
    if F. Steyn or Goosen are considered
    too unreliable off the tee to jolt Morne
    from the starting 15.
    (Statistics from and )

  • Comment 9, posted at 12.09.12 11:22:13 by Hammerkop Reply

  • @Hammerkop (Comment 9) : not that hard to work out, is it? Wonder if the coach is listening… LOL

  • Comment 10, posted at 12.09.12 11:36:41 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Hammerkop (Comment 9) :

    Those stats speak volumes…

  • Comment 11, posted at 12.09.12 11:37:22 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • So Lambie and Goosen made as much running metres in 10 minutes as Kirchner and Morne in 70?

  • Comment 12, posted at 12.09.12 12:21:52 by TRF_Ezequiel Reply

  • @Pokkel (Comment 11) : another one that stuck out for me was the one about michael hooper alone hitting a total of 35 rucks which is 13 less that all of coetzee, alberts and vermuelen combined, plus he still carried for 45m when all 3 of our loosies combined carried 63m

    the guy is a dynamo! 😯

  • Comment 13, posted at 12.09.12 12:22:50 by Megatron Reply

  • just had a clarification… apparently popping the ball down from the lineout counts as a pass… explains Kruger’s number

  • Comment 14, posted at 12.09.12 13:20:16 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Hammerkop (Comment 9) : @robdylan (Comment 14) : Please explain these stats.

    Robs says MS alone made 92m…?

  • Comment 15, posted at 12.09.12 13:30:38 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Ice (Comment 15) : Hamerkop is basing his on other sites – Rob on Verusco. Big differences between Rugbystats and Verusco for Morne and Kirchner’s running meters

  • Comment 16, posted at 12.09.12 13:40:35 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 16) : ja exactly – so which one is right? I mean running meters is running meters…cannot confuse that with something else, can you?

  • Comment 17, posted at 12.09.12 13:51:30 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • unfortunately none of the sites are particularly good at explaining how they got to the stats they have.

    I use Verusco because the teams themselves use the same stats.

  • Comment 18, posted at 12.09.12 14:00:27 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Ice (Comment 17) : I cannot see Morne having made 92 meters with ball in hand – so in this case I expect rugbystats to be closer to the truth

  • Comment 19, posted at 12.09.12 14:02:39 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 19) : unless Verusco includes the runs from the try line back forthe kickoff after the Aussies scored. 👿

  • Comment 20, posted at 12.09.12 14:03:51 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 19) : Same here – thats why I am asking if something else might contribute to ‘running meters”…

  • Comment 21, posted at 12.09.12 14:17:32 by Ice Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • Sorry… I will leave it at that. Back to rugby!

    This was our chance to beat the Wallabies twice in a season. We had it! We just blew it by stupid decisions and Morne missing his kicks (AGAIN!)

  • Comment 22, posted at 12.09.12 16:00:54 by TRF_Ezequiel Reply


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