Tracey Nelson 's Opinion

Stats guru Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers

The Stats Don't Lie: Are the stats in the Chiefs favour?

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This season the Chiefs have won seven of their nine matches played at home, which is a 77 percent winning record. Photo / Getty Images
This season the Chiefs have won seven of their nine matches played at home, which is a 77 percent winning record. Photo / Getty Images

Stats guru Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers ahead of the Super 15 final between the Chiefs and Sharks.

CHIEFS v SHARKS (Steve Walsh)

Fifteen matches played and it's eight wins to the Chiefs and seven to the Sharks. The last time they met was Round 9 in Durban, when the Chiefs emerged victorious 18-12.

The Chiefs have played the Sharks seven times in Hamilton, and they have won 57 percent of those matches. This season the Chiefs have won seven of their nine matches played at home, which is a 77 percent winning record.

The Chiefs have not lost to a South African team since they were beaten by the Bulls in April 2011, and that loss in Pretoria has been their only one to a South African team in the last two years.

The Sharks have failed to score a try against the Chiefs in their past three matches.

The last time the Sharks crossed the chalk against the Chiefs was in February 2009, which was also the last time they won in Hamilton.

This is the second final the Chiefs have appeared in, and the first time they have hosted a final. The only other time the Chiefs have played in a final was in 2009 when Bulls beat them 61-17 in Pretoria - the biggest loss in Super Rugby Finals history.

There are six Chiefs players in the team named for this match who featured in that 2009 final - they are Craig Clarke, Liam Messam, Tanerau Latimer, Sona Taumololo, Hika Elliot and Lelia Masaga.

The Sharks have made three finals - 1996 (v Blues), 2001 (v Brumbies) and 2007 (v Bulls) - but have never won a title.

While the Chiefs have had issues with their set pieces in recent weeks, their lineout was 100 percent against the Sharks in their Round 9 clash. Craig Clarke and Ben Tamiefuna both managed a lineout steal on the Sharks' throw in that game.

Aaron Cruden is sitting on 234 points which is the most scored by a New Zealand player in a Super season, and the second best by any player in a Super season behind Morne Steyn's record of 263 in 2010.

If the Chiefs can win the final they will become the third New Zealand side to win a Super title, and it would be the 13th season where the home finalist has won the title. To date only four titles have been claimed by the visiting side, and that was achieved by the Crusaders (1998, 1999 and 2000) and the Bulls (2007).

Steve Walsh will be officiating in his second Super Rugby Final, the previous one having been the 2007 final between the Sharks and the Bulls. The home side has won less than 40 percent of the time when Walsh has been the referee this season.

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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