The Stats Don't Lie

Stats guru Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers

The Stats Don't Lie: Hurricanes made to work for win

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Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers from the Super 15 action over the weekend where the Hurricanes were forced to make a lot of tackles to collect their 50th ever win at home.

HURRICANES v FORCE (22-16)

The Hurricanes notched up their 50th win in the capital (from 82 matches in total) as they narrowly beat the Force, despite having been up 15-3 at halftime.

The Force managed to hold on to the ball for long periods in this game, which meant the Hurricanes had to make 159 tackles to the 109 the Force made.

The Hurricanes missed 21 tackles, with Brad Shields and Faifili Levave both guilty of missing four tackles each. The Force missed 16, Alby Mathewson missing three from nine attempted tackles was their worst tackler on the night.

The Force won all 15 of their own lineout throws, and managed to steal one clean throw off the Hurricanes (Toby Lyn) as well as pressure them into two knock-ons.

Jeremy Thrush made a good comeback from injury, taking all six of his lineout throws, making six ball carries averaging four metres each time, and 11 tackles.

Handling errors were higher from the home side, with eight knock-ons by the Hurricanes including two on the try line. The Force made 6 handling errors resulting in turnover of possession.

The Force made six clean breaks to the Hurricanes' four, and also managed 13 offloads in the tackle while the Hurricanes could only make three this week.

Again, as has been the pattern against Australian teams this year, the New Zealand team conceded more penalties. While the half time penalty count was even at four each, in the second half the Hurricanes conceded eight penalties (and a yellow card) while the Force gave away just three.

WARATAHS v CHIEFS (25-20)

This was the first time in 2013 that the Chiefs have been kept scoreless in the first half of a game, with the Waratahs going into the break leading 15-0. The last team to have kept the Chiefs scoreless in the first half of a game was also the Waratahs, back in 2010.

It was also the first time in 2013 that the Waratahs hadn't conceded points in the first 40 minutes of a match. Prior to this game the Waratahs had only won a single game in the last seven played against New Zealand opposition (they beat the Blues in round six).

The Chiefs contested almost half of the Waratah's 12 lineout throws and were successful in stealing one, with Brodie Retallick getting up for that take.

The Waratahs took the breakdown honours by a whisker, winning four breakdowns to two. They also managed to hold the Chiefs up in a maul to win possession back.

The Chiefs conceded fewer penalties than in recent weeks, but still gave away plenty at the breakdown (seven) with Ben Tameifuna guilty of three of those.

Sam Cane was the top tackler in this match with a total of 17 with just one miss. Liam Messam was the next best with 14 tackles and two misses.

The usually reliable Richard Kahui, playing out of position at second five-eighth this week, missed the most tackles of any Chiefs player with a total of three.

Waratahs' reserve hooker John Ulugia was on the field for only eight minutes, but in that time carried the ball three times for a gain of 17 metres - the most important one being the dive over the goal line for the winning try.

Both Gareth Anscombe and Brett McKibbin hit the upright with consecutive kicks for goal in the first half. Anscombe came away with 15 points from this match (including a try) and remains the top points scorer in the competition on 125.

CRUSADERS v HIGHLANDERS (24-8)

The Highlanders have now lost eight consecutive matches, which is a new record for the worst ever start to a Super Rugby competition by a New Zealand team. It was also the first time they have been held scoreless in the first half this season.

The Crusaders won the breakdown three to two, and had almost twice as much ruck ball as the Highlanders (97 to 54).

The Crusaders actually missed more tackles (21 v 15) than the Highlanders, but the difference was that most of those missed tackles weren't close to their try line.

Yet again the Crusaders showed the effectiveness of contesting the opposition's lineouts, stealing three of the Highlanders' lineouts in the first half (Luke Romano with two, and Sam Whitelock with one).

Brad Thorn and TJ Ioane were the top tacklers in the game with a total of 18, followed by Matt Todd with 12.

Despite the wet and windy conditions there were very few handling errors in this game, with sevem by the Crusaders and eight by the Highlanders.

Ben Smith was the top ball carrier in the game with 87 metres gained from his six runs, while Israel Dagg made the same meterage with his 10 runs.

Due to injuries and numerous stoppages for TMO replays, the first half of this game ran to almost 49 minutes.

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