Stats guru Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers

The Stats Don't Lie: Late defence saves try-less Blues

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The Stormers made five clean linebreaks to three against the Blues. Photo / Getty Images
The Stormers made five clean linebreaks to three against the Blues. Photo / Getty Images

Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers from the weekend's action where the Blues' defence held on for more than 20 phases to claim victory on Friday.

The Blues defended 21 phases without conceding a penalty in the last two minutes to hang on for their first home win over the Stormers since 2008.

Tom McCartney, Ali Williams and Steven Luatua were the top tacklers for the Blues, all making 15 tackles each. Siyamthanda Kolisi was the top tackler in the game with 17.

The Stormers made 90 percent of their tackles, missing just 14. It was the first time this season that the Blues have failed to score a try.

The Blues made 15 handling errors in this match, while the Sharks made nine.

The Stormers made five clean linebreaks to three and scored tries to Jean de Villiers from two of them.

The Blues won the battle of the breakdown by three ruck turnovers to one, and also held the Stormers up twice in maul situations to win the turnover.

The six penalty goals kicked by Chris Noakes is a new Blues record for most penalty goals in a Super match.

It was Bryan Habana's 50th Super game for the Stormers, while Luke Braid notched up 50 Super matches (41 for the Blues, nine for the Chiefs).

The Chiefs became the first New Zealand team to win on Australian soil this season when they managed to hold out the strong finishing Rebels.

The Rebels bettered the Chiefs for linebreaks (13 v eight) and offloads (15 v nine), but the Chiefs won the breakdown four to two and also held up a Rebels' maul for the turnover.

Sam Cane was the top tackler in this game with 19, followed by Brodie Retallick with 17. However, the Chiefs missed 23 tackles in this match while the Rebels missed 16.

The Chiefs didn't concede their first penalty (Cane) until the 27th minute. The first attempted kick for goal from a penalty in the match didn't occur until the 66th minute, and was landed by Gareth Anscombe.

Overall there were only 13 penalties awarded, with seven conceded by the Rebels and just six by the Chiefs.

Scott Higginbotham had another big game for the Rebels, making the most ball carries (13) and metres gained (101) of all the forwards on the field.

Anscombe scored three tries and kicked one penalty and three conversions for a personal tally of 24 points. He remains the top scorer in Super Rugby 2013 with a total of 163 points, 15 ahead of Morne Steyn.

The Highlanders celebrated Brad Thorn's 100th Super match with their first win of the season. Thorn made six ball carries for a gain of 17 metres, 13 tackles, and stole a lineout off the Sharks.

TJ Ioane was the top ball carrier in the game with 17, while the Sharks' winger Lwasi Mvovo made the most running metres with a total of 115.

Ben Smith made two linebreaks, four offloads in the tackle, and made the most running metres in the game with 105 from his 10 runs.

This week the Highlanders minimised their errors making just six handling errors, while the Sharks made 13 (all knock-ons).

Of the 15 scrums set, there was just one re-set (on a Sharks' feed) and just one penalty awarded (against Tony Woodcock on a Sharks' feed).

No less than three kicks for goal hit the uprights in this match - two of Colin Slade's penalty attempts and one of Patrick Lambie's conversion attempts.

Poor discipline was a major problem for the Hurricanes, conceding 13 penalties to eight in this game. Their worst offending came with their attempts to stop the Bulls' rolling mauls, with five penalties and a yellow card conceded.

Karl Lowe conceded the most penalties of any player in this game with three - one at the tackle, one for detaching early from a scrum, and one for illegally pulling down a maul.

The Hurricanes only contested six of the Bulls' 14 lineout throws, and didn't contest any lineouts thrown in their own 22.

Handling errors didn't help the cause either, with the Hurricanes making six knock-ons, throwing two intercepted passes that resulted in tries and spilling the ball four times leading to turnover in possession.

Despite the scoreline, the Hurricanes actually made more linebreaks (nine v seven) and offloads in the tackle (10 v seven) than the Bulls.

Defensively they missed fewer tackles than the Bulls (16 v 22), but half of those missed tackles came from the inside backs (Perenara, Barrett and Pisi).

The Crusaders broke a 10 year drought achieving their first win over the Brumbies in Canberra since 2003.

The Crusaders' forwards set the platform in this match, dominating the breakdown by five turnovers to two. They also held up the Brumbies in two mauls to win the turnover in possession.

It wasn't a vintage day for the normally strong Crusaders' lineout, winning just one of their four throws in the first half and ending the match with just a 64 percent success rate from their 11 throws.

The Crusaders did put pressure on the Brumbies' lineout contesting all but one of their 14 throws, resulting in two steals by Sam Whitelock, one by George Whitelock, an overthrow, and one not-straight.

While Dan Carter didn't get off to a good start throwing the intercept pass that resulted in Matt Toomua's try, he was 100 percent with the boot landing three penalties and three conversions.

The Crusaders made 13 linebreaks to the Brumbies' five, and managed to make 13 offloads in the tackle.

There were very few handling errors in this game, with five knock-ons, and intercept pass, and a spilled ball from the Crusaders and just four knock-ons from the Brumbies.

George Smith became the most capped Brumbies player with 137 appearances, moving past the record of 136 games previously held by George Gregan.

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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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