Tracey Nelson 's Opinion

Stats guru Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers

The Stats Don't Lie: Low scoring a rarity for Blues

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Blues skipper Ali Williams was penalised three times against the Crusaders. Photo / Getty Images
Blues skipper Ali Williams was penalised three times against the Crusaders. Photo / Getty Images

Rugby stats guru Tracey Nelson takes a close look at the weekend's Super 15 matches where the Blues' 10-year drought in Christchurch continued.

HURRICANES v CHIEFS (12-17)
The Chiefs maintained their record of not losing a game they have led at halftime in 2013, and got their first win in Wellington since 2001.

The Hurricanes made 12 handling errors, while the Chiefs made just five - although three of them were by Tawera Kerr-Barlow. The Chiefs didn't make their first handling error until the 20th minute of the match.

When it came to tackling, the Chiefs had to make 155 tackles to the Hurricanes' 71. But their percentage of tackles made (92 percent) was superior to the Hurricanes (84 percent).

The Hurricanes had 21 lineouts in this game and won 19 of them, with Jeremy Thrush and Victor Vito again their top jumpers with eight takes each.

The Chiefs only contested seven of the Hurricanes' throws and were successful with one steal to Craig Clarke.

The Chiefs had 11 lineouts and the Hurricanes contested all of them, resulting in the Chiefs losing three lineouts due to throw-in errors.

There were 63 kicks from hand in this match, with 31 from the Hurricanes and 32 from the Chiefs. Of those 63 kicks, 42 of them were made in the first half alone.

This was Faifili Levave's 50th Super game.

CRUSADERS v BLUES (23-3)
This was just the second time in 2013 that the Blues have been kept try-less, and the first time since 2006 the Blues haven't managed to reach double figures. It is also now 10 years since the Blues have won in Christchurch.

The Crusaders defence proved hard to beat, and it was lead by Matt Todd who was the top tackler in the game with 23 tackles and just one miss, and Dan Carter with 17. Overall the Crusaders made 148 tackles to the Blues' 109.

Lineouts were hotly contested, the Blues managed two steals (Ali Williams and Culum Retallick) and pressured the Crusaders into two overthrows, while the Crusaders stole four throws off the Blues (Sam Whitelock with two, Luke Romano, and Kieran Read).

Given the conditions there were remarkably few knock-ons, with both sides making just six. However, when it came to passing errors the Crusaders made just one while the Blues made four.

Discipline cost the Blues dearly, conceding 11 penalties - with their worst offender being captain Williams with three. The Blues conceded 10 points while Retallick was in the sin bin.

The Crusaders didn't concede their first penalty until the 29th minute of the game, and their total of eight penalties was one less than their season average of nine.

Read made a fairly quiet return from injury, but still managed 12 carries, 14 tackles, and took a lineout throw off the Blues.

The Crusaders played the last two minutes of this game with 14 men after Adam Whitelock was injured, as they had already emptied their bench and had no reserves left.

BULLS v HIGHLANDERS (30-6)
Discipline cost the Highlanders dearly, playing 20 minutes of this match with just 14 men after winger Maritino Nemani and prop Chris King were yellow carded in the 46th and 56th minutes.

The Highlanders conceded 14 penalties, with eight coming at the breakdown. The Bulls conceded 11 penalties, making this one of the higher total penalty counts for a match this season.

The Bulls' lineout was in magnificent form, winning all but one of their 18 throws, while the Highlanders struggled with overthrows losing three of their 12 lineouts.

The Highlanders made 13 handling errors, with Joe Wheeler the worst offender with 3 (one knock-on and 2 intercepted passes).

The one area of the game the Highlanders shaded the Bulls was tackling, having to make just 102 while the Bulls had to make 159. The Bulls also missed more tackles (a huge 45) than the Highlanders (12).

Ben Smith was the best of the Highlanders making nine runs for a gain of 112 metres, and getting one offload away.

This was Pierre Spies' 100th Super match and he celebrated with a try, six runs with the ball,one linebreak, and two offloads.

Under Jamie Joseph the Highlanders have now played 27 games for 10 wins and 17 losses.

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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