Sharks v Cheetahs: by the numbers

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 9 Oct 2012 at 09:59
Tagged with : , , , ,

Time for our weekly statistical analysis of the Sharks game, courtesy of Verusco. This week, we look at Saturday’s 37-30 win against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

The Sharks again had less of the ball (32 minutes in possession against 48 for the Cheetahs) and as a result were forced to make a staggering 230 tackles, against just 124 from their hosts. While there were obviously quite a few individual missed tackles, the overall defensive percentage was good for the Sharks, with 91% of their tackles sticking. The Cheetahs did less well, only bringing the man down 83% of the time. The Cheetahs further shot themselves in the foot with 20 handling errors (against just 9 by the Sharks) and 15 penalties conceded, against 12 from the visitors.

Looking at individuals on defence, two names stand out, with Jacques Botes (25 from 26) and Paul Jordaan (25 from 29) accounting for almost a quarter of all the Sharks’ good tackle between them. There were big numbers all around, though, with Keegan Daniel (19), Tim Whitehead (18), Anton Bresler (17) and Wiehahn Herbst (15) all making big contributions. Daniel had the best record, with no misses from 19 attempts, with Meyer Bosman (13), Jean Deysel (12), Louis Ludik (7) and Peet Marais (7) also missing no tackles off a decent number of attempts. Botes and Jordaan also shared a virtually equal tackle rate, making one good tackle for every 3.20 minutes on the field. Peet Marais was third (3.86), with Allan Dell and Tera Mtembu in joint fourth, with a good tackle every 3.5 minutes.

Jordaan, though, also missed the most tackles (4), along with Kyle Cooper, who managed 14 tackles from 18 attempts in his 68 minutes on the field. The only other players to miss more than 1 tackle were Whitehead, Charl McLeod and Dale Chadwick, who each slipped 2. The lowest percentage went to Pieter Dixon (50%, or 1 from 2), followed by McLeod and Cobus Reinach, who each averaged 67%.

Moving on to possession won, Louis Ludik again reigned supreme, plucking the ball from the sky 6 times, ahead of 5 from Odwa Ndungane. JP Pietersen and Jean Deysel each won possession 3 times. Odwa Ndungane made the most ground with ball in hand (85m), followed by Meyer Bosman (64m) and then Ludik (57m). Ndungane made 3 line breaks, with Bosman, Pietersen and Deysel credited with 1 each. No player made more than a single offload.

Charl McLeod made 40 passes in 53 minutes, at a rate of 1 pass every 1.33 minutes on the field. Next best were Bosman with 10, Reinach with 9 and Botes with 6.

Wiehahn Herbst hit the most total rucks, 22 in his 80 minutes, with Botes, Deysel, Daniel and Whitehead all in joint second place with 19. The most active rucker was Tera Mtembu, who hit a ruck for every 1.75 minutes on the field, followed by Allan Dell (2.33) and and Jandre Marais (3.53).

Moving on to errors, the usually reliable Louis Ludik lost possession 4 times, with Kyle Cooper, Tim Whitehead and Paul Jordaan each coughing up the ball twice. Penalties were evenly spread, but Jandre Marais, Botes, Daniel and Jordaan each conceded 2. That, unfortunately, makes Paul Jordaan the clear leader in our total error score, with 8 errors in total, including his 4 missed tackles. Next closest was Cooper (6) and Ludik (5).

We’re sharing the Most Valuable Player award this week for a very good reason. We wouldn’t have won this game had it not been for the defensive efforts of Jacques Botes, any more than we would have without the attacking exploits of Odwa Ndungane, so they’ll have to make do with half a bottle of bubbly each this week. Special mentions go to Jean Deysel and Wiehahn Herbst, both of whom did more than I gave them credit for in the player ratings.


  • Maybe i reading it wrong.
    total sharks tackle 124, but if you add up all the individual tackles in the next paragrapgh I get 158 tackles and that is from only 10 players.
    plus cooper 14 =172

  • Comment 1, posted at 09.10.12 11:25:03 by MJ Reply
  • @MJ (Comment 1) : A lot of tackles are executed by more than 1 tackler.

  • Comment 2, posted at 09.10.12 11:33:27 by MysticShark Reply
    Competition Winner
  • @MJ (Comment 1) : no man… Sharks attempted 230 tackles… Cheetahs attempted 124 🙂

    Sharks made 209 good tackles in total from 230 attempts

  • Comment 3, posted at 09.10.12 11:56:39 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : thought i read it wrong…

  • Comment 4, posted at 09.10.12 12:01:06 by MJ Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : 😈 The numbers are also slightly subjective. I noticed that Jordaan and McLeod made tackles which stopped the opponent enough for another shark to take the player to ground – It will count as a miss tackle, but it did not cost us more than a meter or so. Botes’ miss may also be the Sarel try due to the fact that No8 tackled and held on to him on our side of the scrum to block Botes from defending the line. 😈

  • Comment 5, posted at 10.10.12 06:38:30 by KILLER SHARK Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
  • @KILLER SHARK (Comment 5) : umm, I think the idea about stats is that they’re actually not subjective… you need to watch the game with a bit of a subjective view to give context and meaning to the raw numbers.

    We’ve never pretended that these stats paint the full picture. That’s why we rate the players in two ways every week – in the subjective player ratings article and then again using the unbiased statistics from Verusco.

    The team uses these very same stats in their own analysis, by the way. So I guess they trust them…

  • Comment 6, posted at 10.10.12 06:50:35 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @KILLER SHARK (Comment 5) : It goes the other way too. Verusco has Goosen not missing any tackles in the test against the AB’s, even though Whitelock pretty much ran over him to score his try.

    I prefer rugbystats who distinguishes between missed, ineffective and successful tackles. Unfortunately their public stats are often not very complete

  • Comment 7, posted at 10.10.12 08:13:43 by Bokhoring Reply

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