The Stats Don't Lie

Stats guru Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers

The Stats Don't Lie: Which sides hold the edge in round 20?

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The Crusaders have won 16 of the 23 games played agains the Hurricanes. Photo / Getty Images
The Crusaders have won 16 of the 23 games played agains the Hurricanes. Photo / Getty Images

Tracey Nelson crunches the numbers ahead of the final round of the 2013 Super 15 regular season.

CRUSADERS v HURRICANES (Christchurch, Referee Glen Jackson)
The Crusaders have won 16 of the 23 games played between these two sides, but the Hurricanes are the only team to have beaten the Crusaders in their new post-quakes stadium - a feat they achieved last year. They also beat the Crusaders this year in Wellington, with a last minute intercept try.

Last week the Hurricanes missed 25 tackles against the Highlanders, in particular down the 9-10 channel where TJ Perenara and Beauden Barrett missed a combined total of six tackles.

When it comes to tackling, you can't look past Matt Todd (190) and George Whitelock (152) for the Crusaders. Brad Shields is the top tackler for the Hurricanes with 122. Overall the Crusaders have made 87.5 percent of their tackles, while the Hurricanes have made 86 percent of theirs.

Alapati Leiua has made the most linebreaks for the Hurricanes with nine, while Tom Marshall is the best of the Crusaders with eight.

The Hurricanes' lineout (86 percent) is slightly better than the Crusaders (83 percent), with Jeremy Thrush their key jumper with 50 takes. However, when it comes to stealing opposition lineouts the Crusaders are well ahead having won 50 throws while the Hurricanes have won 24.

The Hurricanes are the only New Zealand side to have landed a drop goal this season.

Barrett needs 14 more points to achieve 200 points for the season, but will need to get them in this match given it is the last game of 2013 for Hurricanes.

REBELS v HIGHLANDERS (Melbourne, Referee Andrew Lees)
These two sides have met just twice before, with the Highlanders winning both encounters. The Highlanders have scored 40 points or more both times.

They may finish bottom of the New Zealand conference, but the Highlanders have three players in the top 10 try scorers for said conference with Hosea Gear in second equal place with seven tries for the season, while Kade Poki and Ben Smith each have five tries.

The Highlanders have also made the most offloads of any team in the competition, with a total of 193. The Rebels have made 146.

When it comes to scrums the Highlanders' have the best one in the competition with a 94 percent success rate. The Rebels have only won 87 percent of their scrums.

The Rebels have the better lineout winning 86 percent of their ball, while the Highlanders have won 81 percent of their throws. Josh Bekhius is the top lineout winner for the Highlanders with 33 takes.

The Highlanders have a low strike rate for tries scored from turnover ball, with just five for the season. The Rebels have scored 10 tries from turnovers.

While every team has conceded at least one yellow card this season, the Highlanders are well out in front on that count with their 11 - which is almost twice as many as the Rebels, Force and Brumbies who are the next highest offenders with six each.

BLUES v CHIEFS (Auckland, Referee Chris Pollock)
It's all even in these encounters with both sides having won 10 of the 20 games played. The last time they met the Chiefs won 23-16 back in round seven. Last time they met in Auckland (2011) the Chiefs won 16-11.

The Chiefs need just one competition point from this game to win the New Zealand conference. If they lose without a bonus point against the Blues they risk losing the New Zealand conference to the Crusaders should they manage a bonus point win against the Hurricanes - both teams would finish on the same number of points, but the Crusaders would take out the conference by having a superior points differential.

The Blues and Chiefs are second equal overall when it comes to clean linebreaks, having both made 136 this season. Charles Piutau is the top linebreaker with 24, followed by Rene Ranger with 23 and Frank Halai with 20. Lelia Masaga is the best of the Chiefs with 15.

The Chiefs have scored 46 tries while the Blues have scored 39. The Chiefs have a slightly better strike rate from turnover ball having scored 10 tries while the Blues have scored six, but have scored twice as many tries (18) from first phase play.

Both sides have had issues with their lineouts, hovering around the 80 percent mark on their own throw. The Chiefs have had 8 not-straight throws called against them, while the Blues have had just one.

Liam Messam returns from injury to the Chiefs' starting lineup this week - he has made 130 ball carries and 171 tackles for his team this season.

This will be Ali Williams' last Super game. Williams has played 12 seasons of Super Rugby and scored five tries in that time - but just two of those for the Blues, the other three coming during his stint with the Crusaders in 2008. This season he has won 40 lineouts for the Blues.

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