Tracey Nelson 's Opinion

Stats guru Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers

The Stats Don't Lie: High tackle count too much for Blues

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Luke Braid and Anthony Boric were the top tacklers for the Blues with 22 each. Photo / Getty Images
Luke Braid and Anthony Boric were the top tacklers for the Blues with 22 each. Photo / Getty Images

Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers from the weekend's Super 15 action.

CRUSADERS v WARATAHS (23-22)

The Waratahs were ultimately undone by an 80th minute missed penalty kick by Berrick Barnes that would have won them the game. Dan Carter's 50m penalty in the 73rd minute proved to be the winning goal kick of the night. Carter kicked five from six kicks for goal, while Brendan McKibbin kicked three from four before he was subbed off.

The Waratahs had the better of possession for most of the game, and at the end of the first quarter had a ruck tally of 56 while the Crusaders had just nine. By the end of the game they had made three linebreaks to one, and 11 offloads to five.

For the second week in a row the Crusaders conceded a tighthead on their scrum feed, although they went on to win their remaining five scrums.

The Crusaders lineout had its worst outing of the season, winning just eight from 14 which included four not straight throws. The Waratahs only had eight lineout throws and won seven of them.

Missed tackles were plentiful in the first half for the Crusaders, with a total of 19. A much better effort in the second half saw the final tally of missed tackles at 26, which was still 10 more than the Waratahs missed.

Matt Todd was the top tackler in this match with a total of 20, with just three misses. Luke Romano was the next best with 14 tackles and 2 misses. Tom Marshall missed the most tackles for the Crusaders with four.

There was remarkably little kicking from hand by both sides, the Crusaders making 12 kicks and the Waratahs 11.

The only area of the game the Crusaders were better at was the penalty count, they conceded seven penalties while the Waratahs conceded 10. Half of the Waratahs' penalties were conceded in their own 22.

BRUMBIES v HURRICANES (30-23)

Discipline was again an issue for the Hurricanes, conceding a total of 13 penalties with six of them converted into points by Christian Leali'ifano. The Brumbies conceded 11 penalties, five of which were in their own 22. The Hurricanes only conceded one penalty in their 22.

Accuracy was the name of the game for the Brumbies, with just five handling errors in the game. They also strung together five plus phases of play on six occasions, the last of which was 11 phases and resulted in flanker Peter Kimlin's try.

The Hurricanes made six linebreaks to four, and 14 offloads to nine - Julian Savea and TJ Perenara both made three offloads.

Alapati Leiua made the most linebreaks in the game with three, and also the most running metres with 128.

The first scrum in this game didn't come until the 29th minute. There were 13 scrums in total (6 to the Brumbies, seven to the Hurricanes), and only one of them (a Brumbies feed) was re-set.

The battle of the breakdown was fairly even, with the Brumbies winning three turnovers and the Hurricanes four. Twice the Hurricanes managed to win a tackle turnover when on defence on their own goal line.

The Hurricanes contested eight of the Brumbies' 14 lineouts, and managed a steal to Victor Vito as well as pressuring the Brumbies into a not straight throw. The Brumbies stole just one of the Hurricanes' lineouts (which was an over-throw on their own goal line), resulting in a try to Nick White.

HIGHLANDERS V BLUES (38-28)

The Highlanders posted their best ever score against the Blues, eclipsing their previous best of 31 set back in 1998.

With 72 percent territory and 75 percent possession at the halftime break the Highlanders only had to make 18 tackles in the first half, while the Blues had to make a staggering 109. By the end of the match the Blues had made 174 tackles and the Highlanders 91.

Luke Braid and Anthony Boric were the top tacklers for the Blues with 22 each. Boric was the only Blues forward not to miss a tackle, the remainder of the pack missed 19 between them with Ali Williams the worst with five missed tackles.

Handling errors were again costly for the Blues, with eight knock-ons, two passes to the opposition, and two spilt passes. Francis Saili was the worst offender with a knock-on and two spilt passes.

The Highlanders only made five handling errors in this game, all knock-ons - including one by reserve prop Bronson Murray right on the try line.

Ben Smith made two linebreaks, one offload, and 64 running metres as well as scoring two tries.

Ali Williams may have felt his team was hard done by in the penalty count, but by the end of the game both teams had conceded 10. The Highlanders also conceded their eighth yellow card of the season (Jamie MacIntosh).

Colin Slade brought up 100 Super points for the season with his third penalty goal of the night. It is the first time Slade has scored 100 points in a Super season.

Keven Mealamu made his 150th Super Rugby appearance when he came off the bench, only Nathan Sharpe has played more Super games than Mealamu.

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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