Tracey Nelson 's Opinion

Stats guru Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers

The Stats Don't Lie: Where the Crusaders went wrong

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The Rebels kept the Crusaders scoreless in the second half, a feat no other side has managed this season. Photo / Getty Images
The Rebels kept the Crusaders scoreless in the second half, a feat no other side has managed this season. Photo / Getty Images

The Super 15 competition was thrown on its head with the Blues finally winning just their second game of the year, the Crusaders losing in an upset to the Rebels and the ninth placed Reds beating competition leaders the Chiefs.

BLUES v LIONS (25-3)

It's official - the Blues are no longer bottom of the table, and they got their second win of the season to end a seven match losing streak. It was also the first time this season they have not conceded any tries in a game.

While their own lineout is still far from perfect (losing four of their 15 throws), the Blues effectively countered the Lions' lineout drives and won a maul turnover off a drive from a five metre attacking lineout.

The Blues made just six handling errors in this game, while pressuring the Lions into making 13.

They were also much more effective at the breakdown this week, winning nine turnovers including three counter-rucks. Top ball stealer was Luke Braid, with three.

Daniel Braid was the top tackler in this match with a total of 17.

Of the nine penalties conceded by the Blues, Tony Woodcock was responsible for three with a scrum binding penalty, and two ruck penalties for offside entry and use of hands.

The Blues made six linebreaks this week, with Alby Mathewson's leading to his try while Deon van Rensburg was in the sin bin.

HIGHLANDERS v HURRICANES (20-26)

The Hurricanes became the first New Zealand side to beat the Highlanders, and inflicted the home team's second loss at Forsyth Barr stadium this season.

There were plenty of handling errors from the Highlanders, with 12 knock-ons in the game including three by Nasi Manu.

The Hurricanes also suffered from handling errors, contributing 10 knock-ons of their own. Andre Taylor and TJ Perenara both made two each.

There was no shortage of kicks in play with the Highlanders making sixteen and the Hurricanes 24. Beauden Barett made the most kicks on the night, with a total of nine.

Adam Thomson won two breakdown turnovers and made a linebreak, plus won four lineouts.

It was a huge defensive effort from the Hurricanes, with their tight five making 70 tackles. Conrad Smith led the defensive effort in the backline, making a total of 11 tackles.

There were only two linebreaks from each side, but it was Julian Savea's in the 74th minute that resulted in the winning try.

Beauden Barrett kicked six from seven attempts at goal for a personal tally of 16 points.

REBELS v CRUSADERS (28-19)

The Rebels caused the upset of the round beating the Crusaders in the first Super Rugby game ever played between the two sides, and they can add that scalp alongside those of the Hurricanes (2011) and Blues (2012).

They kept the Crusaders scoreless in the second half, a feat no other side has managed this season.

It was very much a game of two halves for the Crusaders, they made no knock-ons and conceded just one penalty in the first half but went on to make six handling errors and conceded six penalties in the second.

The Crusaders won turnovers from three counter-rucks and four mauls, but only managed one linebreak to Israel Dagg in the game. In contrast, the Rebels made five linebreaks, two by Kurtley Beale.

The Crusaders won all ten of their lineouts and stole two off the Rebels (Sam Whitelock and Kieran Read), plus won two penalties and a free kick off the Rebels' scrum feed.

Stirling Mortlock scored a try in his 140th Super appearance after a pass from Ben Franks was intercepted. Mortlock has the third highest number of Super appearances behind Nathan Sharpe (157) and Keven Mealamu (141).

Tom Taylor was 100 percent with the boot, kicking four penalties and a conversion before he was subbed off in the 56th minute. He also made 11 tackles in that time, the most of any of the Crusaders' backs.

REDS v CHIEFS (42-27)

The Chiefs' streak of 10 consecutive wins was halted by the Reds in a high-scoring encounter that at one stage saw seven tries scored in the space of 20 minutes.

It is the first time this year that a side has scored a four-try bonus point against the Chiefs, and also the first four-try bonus point of the season for the Reds.

The Chiefs' lineout got the wobbles for the first time in 2012 with two not-straight throws and one over-throw by Mahonri Schwalger. Their pack were also exposed for the second week in a row conceding yet another a try from a rolling maul.

Will Genia scored his first try of the season and it was a individual beauty as he ran untouched from a scrum 10 metres on his own side of halfway.

The Chiefs missed 25 tackles, with Aaron Cruden the worst offender with four misses.

Liam Gill was a one-man ball stealing machine winning an impressive six breakdown turnovers. In total the Reds won 10 breakdown turnovers to the Chiefs' four. Gill also made a staggering 22 tackles in this match.

Sona Taumololo scored his ninth try of the season, and again joins Andre Taylor as joint top-try scorer in the competition.

Liam Messam equalled Sitiveni Sivivatu's record for most appearances for the Chiefs, playing his 89th match for the franchise.

- For more stats visit haka.co.nz

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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