Tracey Nelson 's Opinion

Stats guru Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers

The Stats Don't Lie: Bulls battling Christchurch hoodoo

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The Crusaders lost to the Bulls in Super Rugby playoffs in 2007, 2009 and 2010 but all three of those games were played in South Africa. Photo / Getty Images
The Crusaders lost to the Bulls in Super Rugby playoffs in 2007, 2009 and 2010 but all three of those games were played in South Africa. Photo / Getty Images

The Bulls head to Christchurch looking to break a losing run for South African teams which stretches back to the first Super 12 season in 1996.

Tracey Nelson looks at other key historical and match stats ahead of the two Super 15 playoff matches this weekend.

CRUSADERS v BULLS (Jaco Peyper)

Twenty one games played between these two, and it's 12 wins to the Crusaders and nine to the Bulls.

The Crusaders and Bulls have won 10 of the 16 Super championships, but have never met in a final. This will be the fifth time they have met in a playoff, with the Bulls ahead in the victory stakes three wins to one.

The Crusaders lost to the Bulls in Super Rugby playoffs in 2007, 2009 and 2010 but all three of those games were played in South Africa, as was the Round 7 game they lost by just two points this season. The Bulls have lost the only playoff match staged in Christchurch, and that was in 2006.

No South African side has won a Super rugby match in Christchurch since 1996, the very first season of Super rugby.

The Bulls have lost on their last seven visits to Christchurch.

Mornè Steyn is the leading points scorer in Super Rugby 2012, currently sitting on 225 points. He holds the record for most points by a South African player in Super Rugby (1198), and also holds the overall record for most penalties (217), conversions (210) and drop goals (24).

Dan Carter is the highest points scorer in Super Rugby with 1342 points. He landed his first drop goal of the 2012 season when the Crusaders played the Bulls in Round 7, and got his second two weeks ago the Chiefs. Between them, Carter and Steyn account for five of the twelve competition drop goals in 2012.

Bulls winger Bjorn Basson has the chance to become the outright top try scorer in 2012, he is currently sitting first equal with Andre Taylor with ten tries. He now holds the Bulls record for most tries in a season.

Matt Todd continues to be the best New Zealand defender in the competition, completing an impressive 94 percent of his tackles. To date he has made 229 tackles, the third best in the competition. Fellow loosie George Whitelock is not far behind, having made 180 tackles so far.

Jaco Peyper was the referee when these sides met in Round 7, and he dished out 22 penalties in that match - twelve against the Bulls and ten against the Crusaders.

REDS v SHARKS (Jonathan Kaplan)

There have been 16 games played between the Reds and Sharks, and the Reds are ahead with ten wins. They met in Round 4 this year in Durban, when the Sharks won 27-22.

The Sharks have played in seven Super Rugby play-off games and won three of them (1996, 2001 and 2007), while the Reds have played in four but only won once (2011).

The last (and only) time the two sides met in the play-offs was in 1996 when the Sharks (then Natal) won 43-25 in Brisbane.

The Sharks have the competition's best tackler in flanker Marcell Coetzee, who has made 232 tackles so far this season. He is also ranked the third best ball runner having made 158 runs for 840 metres.

Plenty of strike power on the Sharks' wings with Lwazi Mvovo having made nine linebreaks and broken 36 tackles for his eight tries, while JP Pietersen has made seven linebreaks and broken 31 tackles for his four tries.

The Reds have scored 38 tries this season, nine less than the Sharks. They have also conceded 36 tries, five more than the Sharks.

Watch for the dynamic Keegan Daniel, who has made eleven linebreaks and scored six tries for the Sharks this season while also being a key man on defence with 137 tackles.

Will Genia is the key playmaker for the Reds, he has made eight linebreaks and created eight tries for his team in 2012. Kicking has been a key part of the Reds' game, with Genia making 120 kicks so far.

Jonathan Kaplan had control of the Round 4 game between these two teams, a game that saw Digby Ioane sin binned at the end of the first half for a spear tackle on Marcell Coetzee. Ioane was later suspended for five weeks.

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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