Tracey Nelson 's Opinion

Stats guru Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers

The Stats Don't Lie: Blues' stats don't make pretty reading

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The Blues have now lost four home games, which equals the most home losses they've ever had in a single season. Photo / Getty Images
The Blues have now lost four home games, which equals the most home losses they've ever had in a single season. Photo / Getty Images

Seven lost lineouts on their own throw, twice as many tackles as their opponents and a fourth straight defeat at home. It doesn't make pretty reading for the bottom-placed Blues.

The Chiefs, Highlanders and Crusaders sit in the top six, with the Chiefs leading the competition and the New Zealand conference. The Hurricanes drop from eighth to 10th, while the Blues continue to languish at the very bottom of the table for yet another week.

BLUES v REDS (11-23)

This is the second consecutive home game where the Blues have conceded a try in the opening minutes, with Digby Ioane celebrating his 50th Super game by scoring within the first 60 seconds. The Sharks scored their first try in the third minute of the game played a fortnight ago.

It is also the second time the Reds have scored a try against the Blues in the opening minute of a match, with Will Genia scoring against them in the 59th second in Brisbane, 2010.

The Blues had to make 163 tackles in this game, while the Reds were required to make less than half that number with 80.

Luke Braid and Gareth Anscombe were the top tacklers for the Blues making 11 each, while George Moala was guilty of missing four tackles.

Luke Braid, with 14, made over twice as many ball carries as any of his fellow forwards - with the exception of No 8 Peter Saili, who made eight.

It was another disastrous night for the Blues' lineout losing seven of their 16 throws. Filo Paulo was their best jumper on the night with four takes.

The Blues have now lost four home games, which equals the most home losses they've ever had in a single season (2009). But with four more home games to come, there is every chance they will eclipse that record.

CHIEFS v HURRICANES (33-14)

The Chiefs continued the unbeaten run they started after their loss to the Highlanders in the opening round, and got their first win over the Hurricanes since 2009.

The Chiefs' lineout continued to work like a well-oiled machine as they won all their lineouts. Brodie Retallick again starred taking five of their eight throws.

Hika Elliot had a strong night with ball in hand, making 20 runs and gaining an average of four metres each time.

The Hurricanes made just one linebreak in this game, and it was to Andre Taylor who scored his seventh try of the season in the process. Taylor has now scored an individual linebreak try in the last three consecutive matches.

Sona Taumololo wasn't going to be outdone in the race to be the competition's top try scorer as he also got his seventh try of the season to remain tied with Taylor. Taumololo is fast closing in on the record for most Super tries in a season by a forward - held by Andrew Blowers, who scored nine tries for the Blues in 1996.

There were plenty of knock-ons in this match, with both teams making 11. Brendon Leonard and Julian Savea each made three, while Leonard was also guilty of a forward pass.

Beauden Barrett had the dubious honour of having a penalty awarded against him from a piece of play he wasn't involved in, with referee Jonathan White somehow singling his jersey number out as having gone off his feet at a ruck.

CHEETAHS v HIGHLANDERS (33-36)

The Highlanders came back from 23 point deficit 10 minutes into the second half to snatch a late victory, with Chris Noakes kicking the winning penalty in the last minute of the game for the second time this season.

The Highlanders were down to 13 men for three minutes late in the second half, with both Andrew Hore (26th minute) and James Haskell (33rd minute) yellow carded.

Ben Smith made two clean linebreaks, his second setting up Chris Noakes for his try. Smith made five runs in the game and averaged over 20 metres in gained territory per run.

Jimmy Cowan entered the match in the 61st minute and scored two tries in the 64th and 66th minutes - although still not fast enough to threaten team mate Hosea Gear's record of two tries in 53 seconds, set for the Hurricanes against the Blues in 2008.

The Cheetahs' Coenrad Ossthuizen scored his third try of the season, adding to the slightly freakish habit of props scoring multiple tries this year.

It was the first game this season that Adam Thomson has not been used in the Highlanders' lineout. They won five of their six throws, with Jared Hoeata winning two.

Thomson and Hoeata topped the tackling stats for the Highlanders making 17 and 15 respectively.

WARATAHS v CRUSADERS (33-37)

The Crusaders continue to be the bogey team for the Waratahs, having now won the last 10 games played between the two. The Crusaders also became the first team since the Chiefs (in 2007) to beat the Waratahs at Allianz Stadium (formerly known at the Sydney Football Stadium), with the Crusaders' other three Sydney wins all coming at Homebush Stadium.

The Waratahs now have 21 percent winning percentage against the Crusaders, which is the lowest they have against any Super side. Their wins with Jonathan Kaplan as the referee also continues to bite, with just three in 20 matches.

Kaplan certainly didn't favour the Waratahs' opposition however, awarding 10 penalties against the Crusaders and just four against the Waratahs.

Robbie Fruean made three linebreaks in this game, with two of them ending in tries (his first of two, and Zac Guildford's). His second try of the night gave him his second brace against the Waratahs in consecutive matches. He now has six tries for the season and sits in second-equal place with the Bulls' Bjorn Basson.

The Crusaders lived up to their reputation as the team that kicks the most, with 20 general kicks in play made in the first half alone. Add in the Waratahs' 15, plus all the clearing kicks for touch, and there was a kick every 55 seconds in the first 40 minutes of play.

Tom Taylor's haul of 17 points from the boot puts him just six points short of 100 for the season.

Richie McCaw made his first appearance of the season off the bench in the second half, and he made four ball carries, five tackles and conceded one ruck penalty in his 24 minutes on the field.

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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