The Stats Don't Lie

Stats guru Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers

The Stats Don't Lie: What the Blues are doing right

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Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers from the weekend's Super 15 action where the Blues are leading the way at the breakdown.

BLUES v CRUSADERS (34-15)

The Blues achieved this victory by winning the battle of the breakdown, with five clean steals as well as winning five penalties for Crusaders' players not releasing the ball in the tackle. Rene Ranger was a standout in this area, individually winning three tackle turnovers.

Offloads on attack were a key weapon for the Blues, making a total of 11 in the match to the four by the Crusaders.

Handling errors became problematic for the Crusaders, with 11 knock-ons. The Blues only knocked the ball on five times in the game, with one forward pass thrown.

The Blues conceded just seven penalties, while the Crusaders were penalised 11 times. Of the 18 penalties in total awarded in this match, only one was not conceded at the breakdown and that was Wyatt Crockett's penalty for collapsing his bind in the scrum.

The only area of the game that did work for the Crusaders was the lineout, winning all nine of their throws and stealing four off the Blues. The Blues also lost another of their own throws due to a knock-on, leaving them with lineout success rate of just 58 percent.

Matt Todd was the top tackler in the game with 20 and no misses, followed closely by Stephen Luatua who made 19 tackles with no misses.

If you thought there was a lot of kicking, then you were right. There were 21 kicks in play by the Blues, and 17 by the Crusaders.

REDS v HURRICANES (18-12)

This was the Reds' first win against the Hurricanes since 2007, and they also managed to keep the Hurricanes try-less which is a feat no team managed to achieve in 2012.

There were 25 penalties awarded in this game, with the Hurricanes conceding 14 of them - eight of which came in the first half.

A few wobbles from the Hurricanes' lineout this week, losing three of their 13 throws. Again, as last week, their top jumper was Jeremy Thrush who won all seven lineouts that came his way plus winning a steal off the Reds' lineout in the second half.

Julian Savea made two linebreaks and one offload, and his 90 metres with the ball in hand was the most ground gained by any player on the field. He also made four kicks in general play.

Dane Coles was the top defender for the Hurricanes with 18 tackles and no misses, while Conrad Smith was the best of their backs with five tackles and no misses.

There was plenty of dropped ball in this game, with the Reds knocking on 11 times and the Hurricanes nine times. However, it took until the 26th minute of the match for the Hurricanes to make their first knock-on of the night.

Beauden Barrett had a bad night with the boot, missing three of his seven penalty attempts. Quade Cooper missed just one conversion attempt. Had both players landed all their attempts the Hurricanes would have won the game by one point.

CHIEFS v CHEETAHS (45-3)

The final score flattered the Chiefs, because 28 of those 45 points came in the last quarter of the game. They trailed in the possession and territory stakes for most of the match, having had just 21 percent of territory in the first half.

The Chiefs excelled at the breakdown, winning six breakdown turnovers and winning a penalty for a Cheetahs' player not releasing the ball in the tackle. They also held the Cheetahs' maul up twice to win the turnover in possession.

The penalty count reflected the Chiefs' game plan to attack the breakdown, as they conceded five penalties against the tackler (three for not releasing the tackled player before attempting to play the ball, and two for not being quick enough to roll away). In total the Chiefs conceded 12 penalties.

The Cheetahs only conceded eight penalties, with half being for off-side in general play.

Some concerns for the Chiefs' lineout again this week, losing four of their 15 throws. Their lack of competing against opposition lineouts meant that the Cheetahs won all their 14 lineout throws cleanly.

The Cheetahs missed 33 tackles in this match, and conceded seven linebreaks. The Chiefs missed just 10 tackles and made seven linebreaks.

Cheetahs' flanker Pieter Labuschagne was the top defender with 18 tackles and two misses, while Sam Cane made 17 tackles with no misses.

Gareth Anscombe had another good game with the boot, landing all seven of his attempts at goal. He currently has a 94 percent goal kicking success rate after two games.

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