Tracey Nelson 's Opinion

Stats guru Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers

The Stats Don't Lie: Semifinal preview

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The Chiefs have only beaten the Crusaders once in Hamilton in the last eight matches. Photo / Getty Images
The Chiefs have only beaten the Crusaders once in Hamilton in the last eight matches. Photo / Getty Images

Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers ahead of the Super 15 semifinals. Which teams have the stats on their side?

CHIEFS v CRUSADERS (Craig Joubert)

This is just the third semifinal and second home semi in 17 years of Super Rugby for the Chiefs. They lost their first ever semifinal away to the Brumbies in 2004, and won their home semifinal against the Hurricanes in 2009.

It will be the 14th time the Crusaders have appeared in a Super semifinal, and the sixth time they have been the away team. Of the 13 semifinal matches they have played, they have won nine. Of the five non-home semifinals the Crusaders have won two (against the Reds and Stormers) and lost three (all to the Bulls).

When it comes to Super play-off games, the Crusaders have won eight from nine games against other New Zealand sides. This is the first time the Chiefs and Crusaders have met in a Super play-off match.

The Chiefs have only beaten the Crusaders once in Hamilton in the last eight matches played there, with their last home win coming in 2008. Five of the past six matches between these two sides have been decided by seven points or less.

It is one win each this season with the Chiefs winning in Napier earlier this season, which was a "home" game for the Crusaders, while the Crusaders won in Hamilton three weeks ago.

The Crusaders are the best attacking team of the final four, averaging 30 points per game. They have the second best defence behind the Stormers, conceding 21 points per game.

The Chiefs are the second best attacking side averaging 28 points per game, but have the worst defence of the final four conceding an average of 22 points.

The last time these two sides met the Chiefs only won 50 percent of their own lineouts, with Luke Romano stealing three throws.

Sam Cane and Sam Whitelock were the top equal tacklers in that Round 20 match with twenty three each, but Cane is on the bench for this match.

Zac Guildford and Sona Taumololo are the top-equal New Zealand try scorers, both sitting on eight tries. They still have the chance to overtake the competition's top try scorers Andre Taylor and Bjorn Basson who ended up with 10 tries each this season.

STORMERS v SHARKS (Steve Walsh)

Like the Chiefs and Crusaders, it is the first time the Stormers and Sharks have met in a Super Rugby knock-out game. This season it is one win each, with the wins coming on home turf for both teams.

The Stormers have not lost a game at home this season, winning eight from eight to date. The last time the Sharks won in Capetown was 2009.

The Sharks have played in six Super semifinal games and won three (1996, 2001 and 2007). Four of those semifinal appearances have been away matches, and of those they have only been victorious once (1996 v Reds).

The Stormers have played in four Super semifinals and had just one win in 2010. Their most recent semifinal appearance was last year, when they lost 29-10 at home to the Crusaders.

The Stormers have the best defence in the competition having conceded a total of just 350 points (22 per game) and only twenty one tries. However, they are the only team in the entire competition not to have scored four tries in a game this season, and have only scored twenty eight tries in sixteen matches.

All but three of the Stormers' tries have come from their backs, with hooker Tiaan Liebenberg having scored all three of the tries for the forwards. Compare that to the Sharks' starting pack this weekend who have a tally of 11 tries between them, with flanker Keegan Daniel having scored six this season.

The Sharks have scored the most tries of all four semifinalists with a total of 50, with winger Lwazi Mvovo sitting on eight for the season.

Peter Grant has been the key points scorer for the Stormers, having kicked 45 from 48 attempts at goal this season.

The absence of an injured Patrick Lambie didn't seem to bother the Sharks last week, with Frederic Michalak 100 percent with the boot against the Reds.

The away team has won 64 percent of the time when Steve Walsh has officiated this season.

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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