Northland continue to impress this season, but wins aren't the only stat column they are performing strongly in.

A new, simple defensive strategy has led, not only to wins, but to highly impressive numbers for the Taniwha.

They've conceded the least points across the Mitre 10 Cup, beating Ranfurly Shield holders and defending Premiership champions Canterbury to the post.

And it's not surprising in the least when you delve a little deeper. Northland lead the competition in tackling percentage and in Tim Bond have the fifth most active player in terms of tackles made with 50.


Add to that a decent showing on attack where their tries (16) and points (117) sit in the middle of the pack and you have your recipe for success.

Northland also rate highly in metres (third with 2110m), metres per carry (fifth with 4.06m) and carries (sixth with 520), which shows their improved ability to get good go-forward.

They are also in the top three for defenders beaten with 110.

Solomon Alaimalo has been the star in terms of moving the ball once again. He is in the top three in the Mitre 10 Cup in metres gained (341m) and defenders beaten (19) while leading Northland in carries and try assists.

Jone Macilai has been a force to be reckoned with out on the wing week in, week out. The Crusaders wing is equal fourth on the try-scoring tallies after picking up a five-pointer in each of Northland's four games.

He also ranks third equal in the competition for clean breaks with nine.

Northland's impressive scrum, which dominated the traditionally strong Waikato pack, ranks second in scrum success for the year, while there is not much separating them with anyone else in ruck success.

However there is an area of concern for the Cambridge Blue clan.

Their lineout, an Achilles heel in recent times, ranks second to last in completion percentage at a tick under 73 per cent.

Despite this, Northland are in good stead as they near the business end of the Mitre 10 Cup.

How the Mitre 10 Cup works
● The Mitre 10 Cup is split into two competitions: the Premiership (top) and the Championship (bottom)
● All Premiership teams will play each other once and all Championship teams will play each other once (three home, three away)
● In addition, all 14 teams will play four crossover matches (two home, two away) where Premiership and Championship teams face each other
● All matches carry full competition points
● The draw is formatted in weeks, not rounds. Each team will play two matches in a week once this season
● The winner of the Championship is promoted to the Premiership while the bottom side in the Premiership are relegated to the Championship
● Northland contend in the Championship