Tracey Nelson 's Opinion

Stats guru Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers

The Stats Don't Lie: History favours Crusaders, Blues

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Israel Folau is currently top equal try scorer (eight) in the competition with the Blues' Frank Halai. Photo / Getty Images
Israel Folau is currently top equal try scorer (eight) in the competition with the Blues' Frank Halai. Photo / Getty Images

Tracey Nelson previews this week's Super 15 action and which sides have history and statistics on their side.

CRUSADERS v WARATAHS (Christchurch, Referee Glen Jackson)

Waratahs wins against the Crusaders have been few and far between over the years, with 15 of the 19 games played won by the Crusaders. The last time the Waratahs beat the Crusaders was in 2004, and since then the Crusaders have won the last 10 matches.

Watch out for Israel Folau, who is currently top equal try scorer (eight) in the competition with the Blues' Frank Halai. Folau has also made the most runs (126) and most run metres (1343), along with 10 linebreaks and 30 offloads.

The Waratahs have scored 37 tries this season, second only to the Chiefs who have scored 40. The Crusaders have scored 30 tries, and have scored a four try bonus point on three occasions this season while the Waratahs have only achieved this once.

The Crusaders currently have a tackle success rate of 88.1 percent, while the Waratahs have the worst in the competition at 84.6 percent.

The Waratahs have made the most clean breaks (124) and offloads (169) in the competition , while the Crusaders have only made 81 clean breaks and 116 offloads.

Cory Flynn will play his 129th game for the Crusaders, which matches Reuben Thorne's record for most games for the franchise. Flynn has made 21 pick and goes with the ball this season, which is the fourth highest in the competition.

The Crusaders have a 68 percent winning success rate against Australian sides, and are yet to lose a home game this season.

BRUMBIES v HURRICANES (Canberra, Referee Jaco Peyper)

The Brumbies have won 10 of the 18 games played between these two teams, and have won six of the 10 games played in Canberra. The last time the Hurricanes won in Canberra was in April 2010.

The Brumbies have played six games in Canberra this season and have won four, drawn one (against the Reds), and lost to the Crusaders. They have scored as many tries (17) as they have conceded when playing at home.

The Brumbies have a slightly superior lineout to the Hurricanes having won 86.5 percent of their throws, while the Hurricanes have won 85.5 percent. The Brumbies' Ben Mowen is the top lineout jumper in the compeition with 58 takes, while Jeremy Thrush is the top jumper for the Hurricanes with 38 takes.

The Hurricanes have made 77 clean linebreaks while the Brumbies have made 68. They have also made more running ground with their 5494 metres eclipsing the Brumbies' 4853 metres - but the Brumbies have scored 33 tries while the Hurricanes have only scored 28.

Ben Mowen is also one of the most penalised players in the compeition having conceded 20 to date, while team mate Ben Alexander has conceded 18.

Julian Savea remains the best attacking weapon for the Hurricanes having beaten 33 defenders, made 841 running metres, and 13 offloads.

Christian Leali'ifano is the third highest points scorer in the compeition with 158, while Beauden Barrett is in fifth place with 142 points.

HIGHLANDERS v BLUES (Dunedin, Referee Jonathan White)

The Blues have only lost seven times in the 21 matches they've played against the Highlanders, with five of those losses occuring in Dunedin. The Highlanders only have a 50 percent record against the Blues in Dunedin, having won just five from 10.

Two of the best attacking fullbacks will be on display in this game - Charles Piutau has beaten 50 defenders, made 1137 running metres and 13 offloads, while Ben Smith has beaten 46 defenders, made 1136 running metres and made 20 offloads.

The Blues defence is superior to that of the Highlanders with an 88.8 percent tackle success rate compared to 86.1 percent. Chris Noakes remains the worst defender in the competition having now missed 31 tackles.

Rene Ranger has beaten 36 defenders, made 856 running metres and got away 20 offloads on attack. But he is just as good on defence having won eight tackle turnovers, second only to the Reds' openside flanker Liam Gill.

Frank Halai is the top equal try scorer in the competition with eight. He has made 845 running metres and 15 linebreaks.

The Highlanders have the best scrum in the competition having won 97 percent of their feeds, while the Blues have an 87 percent success rate on their feed which places them as the third worst scrum.

The Highlanders have conceded the most yellow cards of any team in the competition with seven, while the Blues have conceded three.

Tracey Nelson

Stats guru Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers

Tracey Nelson is a rugby statistician who looks closely at the numbers of every Super 15 and All Blacks test to give a concise answer to which players and teams are leading the way on the field.

Read more by Tracey Nelson

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