The Stats Don't Lie

Stats guru Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers

The Stats Don't Lie: Chiefs and Highlanders in crucial clash

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Stats guru Tracey Nelson looks at the numbers as the focus moves back to Super Rugby.

Adam Thomson leads the way for the Highlanders' tryscorers this year. Photo / Getty Images
Adam Thomson leads the way for the Highlanders' tryscorers this year. Photo / Getty Images

The Super Rugby comp resumes after the break for the internationals, with the Highlanders hosting the Chiefs in Dunedin and the Crusaders taking on the Hurricanes in Christchurch.

If you're feeling a little confused that this is Round 19 when we paused for the test matches after Round 15, it's because they included the 3 week lay-off in the calculation.

The Blues have the bye this round.

HIGHLANDERS v CHIEFS (Garrett Williamson)

The Highlanders are the only New Zealand side to have beaten the Chiefs this season and did so in the very first round in Hamilton, winning 23-19. However, the Chiefs are ahead with eleven wins from the eighteen played in total between these two sides.

Two more competition points will see the Chiefs cement a playoff spot, while a loss for the Highlanders could see them slip out of the race for the playoffs - although they are guaranteed four points from the bye in the final round.

The Highlanders have scored thirty two tries this season, and Adam Thomson is their top try scorer with five. The Chiefs have scored forty tries and their top try scorer is also a forward, with Sona Taumololo sitting in second equal place for most tries in the compeition with a total of eight.

Taumololo has also been the Chiefs' best ball carrier with a total of forty pick and goes, while Andrew Hore is the best of the Highlanders, having made forty five. Both players are on the bench for this game.

Brodie Retallick has been the pick of the Chiefs' forwards this season, he is their top tackler with a total of 169, has won forty five lineouts, and made twenty pick and goes.

Adam Thomson is the best of the Highlanders' pack with 160 tackles, 132 runs with ball in hand, and fifty five lineout wins.

Sonny Bill Williams has made 110 runs with the ball, made 980 metres, eleven linebreaks, and twenty nine off-loads in the tackle.

The Highlanders have five All Blacks from the recent series against Ireland in their starting lineup, with Hore on the bench. The Chiefs have four All Blacks starting, with Sam Cane on the bench.

CRUSADERS v HURRICANES (Bryce Lawrence)

Last time these two teams met was Round 9 in Wellington, when the Crusaders came away with a 42-14 win. Overall the Crusaders have now won fifteen of the twenty one games between the two sides, with two draws, which makes them the most frequently played opposition for the Hurricanes in Super rugby.

The Hurricanes haven't played in Christchurch since 2009. In 2011 they only played one of their two scheduled matches with the February earthquake causing the first game to be cancelled, while the second was played in Wellington due to lack of a stadium in Christchurch.

That game in 2009 was the last time the Crusaders lost a game in Christchurch, with the Hurricanes winning 30-24. Since then the Crusaders have had one draw and fifteen wins on their home turf.

The Hurricanes may be sitting in sixth place overall but they have scored more points (438)and more bonus point wins (eight) than any other team this season. They have scored fifty three tries so far this season, while the Crusaders have scored thirty nine.

While all eyes have been on Julian Savea in recent weeks, don't forget that Andre Taylor remains the top try scorer in the competition with ten to date. Savea has scored seven tries, while Crusaders Robbie Fruean and Zac Guildford have six each.

Tom Taylor will wear the No 10 jersey in the absence of the injured Dan Carter - Taylor has racked up 123 points so far this season, including thirty penalty goals and fourteen conversions. Beauden Barrett is in third place overall in the competition for most points scored with a total of 171, he has landed thirty three penalties and thirty one conversions.

Matt Todd will play at openside for the Crusaders with Richie Mccaw starting at No 8, and he is the third best tackler in the competition with a total of 182. Jeremy Thrush is the Hurricanes' top tackler having made 156, while Beauden Barrett is their worst having missed 33 tackles so far.

Wyatt Crockett will play his 100th game for the Crusaders, joining just nine other players to have done so for the franchise. He is the second prop after Greg Somerville to play 100 games for the Crusaders, and has reached the milestone in just his eighth season.

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