Stats with a twist

Written by Maria Delport (Letgo)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 31 Mar 2015 at 09:30
Tagged with : , ,

I know we don’t look at the stats that much anymore and with good reason. They just aren’t detailed enough. For every stat available you would need 5 more stats to have any sort of idea of effectiveness. Nonetheless, after our most recent flop, I wanted to see if the stats would show any more than we already know to be glaringly obvious.

I took stats of this weekend’s game and compared it with every team that played.

BALL IN HAND (rucks, mauls, scrums, lineouts, carries, passes and offloads)

The Stormers with 487 lead this stat with the Waratahs and Chiefs following close behind with 453 and 450. The Sharks with 204 and the Cheetahs with 167 were worst in this regard.

PHASES (Scrums, Rucks, Mauls, Lineouts)

The Force with 144, had the most phases during the match, while the Sharks had the least amount with only 50, almost 3 times less than their opposition. The Stormers with 126 and The Reds with 120 also had more PHASES than their victors, the Highlanders and The Lions with 87 and 86, but every other winning team lead this stat over their opposition.


The Cheetahs with 55 passes were the worst statistically and the Sharks just behind them with their 84 passes.


The Sharks actually fall right in the middle with 39%. The Crusaders with 50%, lead this stat and passed 7% more than anyone else, while the Cheetahs passed less of their possession than anyone else with 30%.


The Sharks made only 70 carries (having had very little of the possession), the 2nd fewest carries only behind the Cheetahs with 50. The Stormers made the most carries with 155.


The Bulls, with 2.96m per carry were the least effective team in this aspect of their game. The 5.4m per carry of the Crusaders was almost 1m more effective than any other team, but it was the Sharks who amazingly lead this stat, with 6.14m per carry.

Begging the question, why do it less than 50% of the time with ball in hand?


The Sharks made 6 CLEAN BREAKS and BEAT 10 DEFENDERS. On a ratio with their BALL IN HAND stats, they were again in the top 3 of the most effective teams, with 17%. Only the Crusaders (29%) and Chiefs (23%) were more effective in beating defenders, than the Sharks were. The 45 CLEAN BREAKS and DEFENDERS BEATEN of the Chiefs came at only 6% more effective than the 16 of the Sharks.


The Sharks made 161 TACKLES, 113 more than that of the Force with 48 tackles. The Sharks were at the higher range of tackled effectiveness, 3rd behind the Chiefs and Highlanders, missing only 16% of all their tackles, while the Waratahs and Force came in last, missing 22% of their tackles.


The 18 TURNOVERS the Sharks conceded put them 6th in this stat behind the Chiefs (21) and Stormers (20). This translates to 36% of the 50 PHASES they had. The CHEETAHS closest behind with 18%.


There were 68 kicks out of hand in The Sharks vs Force match, the Sharks kicked 35 and of those Frans Steyn kicked 13. The Cheetahs (23) and the Highlanders (22), 3rd and 4th, made more than 10 fewer kicks in their matches, while most teams hovered around the 15 mark.

For every 10 phases the Sharks played, they kicked the ball 7 times. Most other teams kicked the ball less than 3 times for every 10 phases.

I am not of the school of thought that running a ball is always better than kicking it, but just kicking a ball just for the sake of kicking it, makes no sense at all.


  • We are impatient and dont keep ball to ourselves. With a bit more phases with ball in hand we could dominate most teams most of the time.

  • Comment 1, posted at 31.03.15 09:42:15 by JarsonX Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner
  • Phase 1: Scrum/lineout scrummy gets ball and pass to 1st receiver, receiver gets tackled, ruck is formed. Phase 2: Scrummy passes to 1st receiver, receiver gets tackled, ruck is formed.
    Phase 3: Scrummy passes ball to 1st receiver who kicks ball away unless the scrummy kicked the ball away first.

  • Comment 2, posted at 31.03.15 09:53:10 by JarsonX Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner
  • Its sad to see good attacking ball getting kicked away all afternoon. Its even worse when those kicks are poor kicks and dont equate to better field position or something.Its as you say:they are kicking just for the sake of kicking.I liked the idea of frans and andre bash it up and gaining some metres and then creating space for the guys out wide. Andre is bigger than most loose forwards. Lets use that!

  • Comment 3, posted at 31.03.15 09:56:58 by tigershark Reply

  • @tigershark (Comment 3) : Frans’ kicking game killed us….

    Seems the mantra is to play rugby in the opposition half, but Steyn’s uneducated donkey hoof was merely able to kick deep enough for the Force to merely return every kick.

    Lambie’s kicking game is far superior to that of Steyn when you require field position.

  • Comment 4, posted at 31.03.15 10:11:36 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 4) : exactly. The plan wasn’t necessarily a bad one, just that the execution was awful.

    But we should have known that we had the wrong guy there to execute the plan so should either have:
    a) picked a different guy
    b) changed the plan.

    I mean, not that hard, right?

  • Comment 5, posted at 31.03.15 10:12:40 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 5) : Most people (including me) has been under the false impression that Frans’ big hoof automatically translates to a superior kicking game.

    The scales have now finally come off, and I am starting to wonder what exactly it is that Frans Steyn offers any team from any position, other than solid defense? 😐

    We sure looked a whole lot more alive when Fred and Ungerer came on ….let’s hope the coaches saw it too.

  • Comment 6, posted at 31.03.15 10:20:54 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • “I am not of the school of thought that running a ball is always better than kicking it, but just kicking a ball just for the sake of kicking it, makes no sense at all.”

    A kick should put you in a better position (by forcing the returning kick to be poor, or the return runner to run into a wall of defence, or have a chance of contesting). Kicking straight to the opposing wing / full back is not a tactical kick – that is just surrendering possession.

  • Comment 7, posted at 31.03.15 10:39:05 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 6) : I think frans best position would actually be fullback. Im not saying move him there but thats where his big boot will probably be best utilized. His distributing skills are very limited.

  • Comment 8, posted at 31.03.15 10:42:10 by tigershark Reply

  • @tigershark (Comment 8) : I’ve thought about him at fullback, and wondered what he would have done with that try created by SP (where he passed to Mvovo).

    I firmly believe that Frans would have caught the ball, run straight past all the defenders, and end up putting an almighty boot to ball – out over the dead ball line. 😳

  • Comment 9, posted at 31.03.15 10:47:22 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • Very interesting article, thank you.

    I thought we looked good when building phases. Personally I think that attacking we lack rhythm.

    And that eludes to preparation before the game. There just seems to be no unison when attacking and you often see players running incorrect lines or not being in position which means on field communication also not the best. Perhaps this playing what’s in front of you is what Gary and Brendan’s idea of attacking?

    Meaning kick the ball and if an opertunity arise use it.

  • Comment 10, posted at 31.03.15 10:50:17 by YamYam Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 6) : some of Ungerer’s passing was a little iffy, if we’re going to be completely fair

  • Comment 11, posted at 31.03.15 10:54:53 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 9) : I’m not sure Frans would have had the pace to elude anyone. SP did very well in that move – a bit of individual brilliance.

  • Comment 12, posted at 31.03.15 10:56:25 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Frans is best used at 12, especially in most of the modern gameplans. He is being used as a crashball centre to get us over the advantage line. All good and well, but then we need to up the tempo of our game and the speed at which the ball gets recycled. But for Frans to be most effective at 12 you need a game breaker at 13 like Jacque Fourie or Paul Jordaan, someone who can make that little bit of gap that is created work. In my opinion, the only time when Frans must be allowed to kick, is when we are in our red zone and we need to hoof the ball as far down the field as possible.

  • Comment 13, posted at 31.03.15 11:03:39 by KingRiaan Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 12) : Would Frans not have looked to hit the man, instead of the gap? His strength is running over defenders, not through gaps.

    Or since the only thing anyone ever focused on was his size and big boot, I think that is basically the two things he is now left with.

    I have to add though, the pass he made for SP’s try was a smart one. You don’t see many player using the long pass right anymore. They usually skip al their runners. The skip pass should skip defenders, which is exactly what Frans did. He passed the ball to where the last defender was, leaving SP with the space. I thought he deserved some kudos for that.

  • Comment 14, posted at 31.03.15 11:08:44 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @robdylan (Comment 12) : But, we can all agree that Frans would have kicked the ball aimlessly down field. SP did really well there, full marks to him.

  • Comment 15, posted at 31.03.15 11:09:53 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 12) : SP was really good. And he will get better the more he is allowed to run. Could easily have been MOTH.

  • Comment 16, posted at 31.03.15 11:10:02 by YamYam Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @YamYam (Comment 16) : He WAS my MOTM. I thought he put in more game-changing contributions than Renaldo did.

    And I have a permanent semi for Renaldo, don’t get me wrong. LOVE the kid.

  • Comment 17, posted at 31.03.15 11:29:31 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Letgo (Comment 14) : here’s the ironic thing. After slating Frans and Conrad all of the first half, they were the two KEY players in that opening try.

  • Comment 18, posted at 31.03.15 11:31:16 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 18) : And directly after that they reverted back to what they were doing in the first half. They seem very careful of doing anything remotely flamboyant on attack. Sad really if you think where Frans came from, actually, both players were more known for their enterprise, in fact, maybe at a young age, too much so, but I’d take a young Frans Steyn any day over dreary, boring – know what he’s going to do even before he gets the ball – Frans Steyn.

  • Comment 19, posted at 31.03.15 12:06:07 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @robdylan (Comment 17) : Thanks for that image :mrgreen:

  • Comment 20, posted at 31.03.15 12:22:52 by Seth101 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Author
  • @Seth101 (Comment 20) : at your service #FapFapFap

  • Comment 21, posted at 31.03.15 12:28:28 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Nice one LetGo! Thanks for the effort

  • Comment 22, posted at 31.03.15 12:36:31 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Very interesting…I was poring over the stats the other day too. Just looking at the numbers in lists often doesn’t look too bad…but in percentages, some of the numbers were shocking!!

  • Comment 23, posted at 31.03.15 12:59:47 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • Speaking of stats. I would like to ask – which record books are the Lions rewriting, apart from their own mediocre past records?
    The Stormers also had an amazing Australasian tour winning 3 from 4 and as recently as last year the Sharks won 3-4 with much greater margins than the LIONS and depleted team. So how come if the stormers and Sharks did it before the Lions it’s the Lions rewriting history according to every journo out there?

  • Comment 24, posted at 31.03.15 13:27:37 by coolfusion Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 18) : Hoffman passing the balls onto Frans’ toes and Frans with a very nearly botched pass to SP? I think he (frans) had the presence of mind but his execution was poor only the rest of the players cleaning up ensured that try happened. Once again LUCK prevailed. Minute 4:23 of second half. If SP had not cleaned up Frans’ bad pass could very well have been picked up or kicked through by force nr 15 and the sharks would have lost. There was no defenders to stop him. ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOqiXkEbXTE

  • Comment 25, posted at 31.03.15 13:47:16 by coolfusion Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 24) : I presume they are rewriting their own history.

  • Comment 26, posted at 31.03.15 13:55:37 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 4) : Frans does not want to be nr10 they keep pushing him into it. Fred Z should have started at 10. JP is still being played out of his position and still is not contributing. Why not play them where we should?

  • Comment 27, posted at 31.03.15 14:00:53 by coolfusion Reply

  • @Salmonoid the Subtle (Comment 26) : Which is not difficult…from rockbottom every achievement thereafter must seem like unimaginable glory….

  • Comment 28, posted at 31.03.15 14:02:23 by coolfusion Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 27) : Even at 12, I really struggle to see what Frans offers other than solid defense…I’d rather have a guy like Heimar who has the ability to hit a gap and pass.

  • Comment 29, posted at 31.03.15 14:18:24 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 25) : I meant that Hoffmann did well to break from the scrum.

  • Comment 30, posted at 31.03.15 14:19:32 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @coolfusion (Comment 25) : oh man, you just pranked yourself there bud. Go watch again. The pass to Steyn was from Deysel 🙂

  • Comment 31, posted at 31.03.15 14:21:10 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @coolfusion (Comment 25) : you’re right about one thing. It was an AWFUL pass from Steyn. I don’t think there was any real plan to it – just dumb luck.

  • Comment 32, posted at 31.03.15 14:24:30 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 29) : I don’t think his defence is even all that solid. Sure, he tackles Cheslin Kolbe hard…but his missed tackle stat last season was very poor!

  • Comment 33, posted at 01.04.15 20:08:42 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • By the way, I don’t think we made nearly enough of Kolbe being scrunched to pulp by Naholo this weekend as he tried valiantly 😯 to keep the big winger out. 😆

  • Comment 34, posted at 01.04.15 20:12:42 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • How on earth did we win this game?!?!

  • Comment 35, posted at 01.04.15 20:14:06 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator

Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.