17 Jul

Super 15: Round 21 Stats
by Tracey Nelson
17 Jul 2012

Stats for the New Zealand sides from the final round of Super 15 2012.

Goal Kicking % Success Total attempts
Tom Taylor 100% 2
MichaelHobbs 100% 1
Dan Carter 83% 6
Piri Weepu 83% 6
Aaron Cruden 57% 7
Beauden Barrett 56% 8

Penalties conceded Total At breakdown
Blues 11 8
Chiefs 11 8
Canes 9 5
Crusaders 18 10

Total Penalties to date
Blues 127
Chiefs 171
Hurricanes 159
Crusaders 152
Highlanders 152

Breakdown turnovers Won Lost
Blues 6 1
Chiefs 1 6
Canes 6 1
Crusaders 9 1

Handling Errors
Blues 8
Chiefs 12
Canes 10
Crusaders 8

Top ten tacklers
Todd 25
Messam 19
Clarke 17
Donnelly 16
C Smith 16
Levave 15
Latimer 15
Lowrey 14
McCaw 13
G Whitelock 13

Top Linebreakers
Piutau 4
Carter 3
F Saili 3

Lineout percentages This week Overall
Blues 63 73
Chiefs 82 83
Hurricanes 83 74
Crusaders 78 83
Highlanders Bye 80

14 Jul

Super 15: Last Round Preview
by WAJ
14 Jul 2012

Hurricanes v Chiefs – Easily the game of the round. Great potential for an excellent game. The Chiefs, for all their struggles at set piece, nearly won last week and their confidence will remain high they are on the right track. Lots of changes means a stronger looking team and with a focus on set piece up front and better use of the outside backs should see them home comfortably. The Hurricanes have to win, almostcertainly with a bonus point, and then hope at least two other results go their way – a big ask. But they are nothing if resilient and the Chiefs will have to ensure their defence is on guard all game, a sniff and Smith and co are gone-burger, 55 tries (that of the Force and Lions combined believe it or not) says relax at your peril. I think the Chiefs will win the battle up front and that will get them home.
Chiefs 1 – 12

Brumbies v Blues – should be a comfortable home win. The Blues showed signs in the second half last week that they have potential – unfortunately a roadblock in the halves will stymie that for the time being, though a competitive forward pack could cause some trouble for the Brumbies. And only 16 out this week I see.The Brumbies will hope to carry on their merry way – efficiency their mantra. They keep it simple and move the ball quickly when there is a chance to use the pace they have out wide. Possibly vulnerable at 1 5/8, but do the Blues have the weapons to test this out??? McCabe v Nonu an interesting match up.
Brumbies 1 – 12

Crusaders v Force – The interest here is only in how much the Crusaders win by.Plenty of changes for the Force in what will be the most capped playerin Soopa rugby, Nathan Sharp’slast runat this level. But there are a lot ofbig names missing and it looks to be more a trial for next year than anything else for the Force. The Crusaders will need to stick to their aims and get things into shape for the playoffs. The outs don’t really help them here but the likes of Fred, DC, DonnersandMaitland can all do with a run to improve further. Interesting Whitelock at centre, presume Fruean is rested, but it will be interesting to see what comes of this change.
Crusaders 1000+

Reds v Waratahs – Thank goodness! No more woeful Waratahs to cruel our rugby vision until next February. They really are the great underachievers of Soopa rugby – with the talent they have had over the years it is almost criminal that they have so underachieved. Internal politics throughout the whole organisation would seem to have played a great part – I mean who sacks a coach when he gets them to a grand final?? Would love to see what the likes of Jake White could do with this team. Foley has them again next year but on this years performance he is pushing the proverbial up a very steep hill. But they play the old enemy tomorrow so will be up for it, but will again fail to take advantage of any good ball and you can guarantee good Wallabies will become bad Waratahs. The Reds have left their run too late, and after a disappointing effort last week have left themselves with too much to do tomake the play-offs. They will know where they stand before they play, and an upset in Canberra is what they will be praying for. A Brumbies win or bonus point loss could see the Reds really have a go and stick it to their great rivals.
Reds 13+

Stormers v Rebels – The last game foranother ofSoopa rugby’s real warhorses in Stirling Mortlock. Unfortunately it is unlikely he will go out on a winning note. Given that the Stormers defence will hold out a limited Rebels, and that the Stormers struggle to score tries themselves (whilst 2nd on the ladder they have scored the third least amount of points and not once have they got four tries, even with the Flash on board – extraordinary) this could be a game only the true believers will be watching.
Stormers 13+

Sharks v Cheetahs – The Cheetahs were brave last week in atrocious conditions to push the Stormers, without really looking like winning. They have tailed off a bit. The Sharks look to be peaking for a real go at the finals and will be far too strong at home, though they have each won two at the Shark Tank. And Bismark is the best forward in world rugby at the moment – a phenomenal player.
Sharks 13+

Bulls v Lions – The Lions were OK last week, but the Bulls at home, smarting from last weeks belting -wouldn’t be mortgaging the house to back the Pussies any time soon.
Bulls 13+

Regards Waj

9 Jul

Super 15: Round 20 Stats
by Tracey Nelson
9 Jul 2012

Stats on the NZ teams from Round 20.

Goal Kicking % Success Total attempts
Lachie Munro 71% 7
Aaron Cruden 67% 6
Dan Carter 57% 7
Mike Delany 33% 3
Noakes 0 1

Penalties conceded Total At breakdown
Blues 11 9
Chiefs 6 4
Crusaders 12 9
Highlanders 8 5

Total Penalties to date
Blues 116
Chiefs 160
Hurricanes 150
Crusaders 134
Highlanders 152

Top ten tacklers
Cane 23
G Whitelock 18
Haskell 17
McCaw 16
Romano 16
O Franks 16
Retallick 16
L Braid 13
Carter 12
Thomson 12

Lineout percentages This week Overall
Blues 75 74
Chiefs 50 83
Hurricanes - 79
Crusaders 88 84
Highlanders 83 80

6 Jul

Super 15: Round 20 Preview
by WAJ
6 Jul 2012

So how is any self respecting sports fanatic supposed to get through the next 5 or so weeks without 1) life threatening sleep deprivation, 2) loss of job, 3) divorce!! Wimbledon, Tour de France, Olympics, cricket (yeah I know we are crap but still it is on and – OK fair enough we could miss that)- and then there are the oval ball codes…. It is enough to drive anyone to upgrade their plasma to a bigger size!!!

Some great games this weekend – well the first 3 are, then it pretty much turns to crap – so enjoy tonight then watch replays of Federer v Djokovic (probably the match of the weekend between guys who aren’t overly fond of each other).

Chiefs v Crusaders – Oh the hype for this game, hope it lives up to it. Should be a beauty. Lots of great match ups, the need for points from both sides and their earlier encounter all bring a great edge to this. The keys for me – will the Chiefs scrum hold up this time, the midfield defences of both teams and the form of Dan Carter. The Crusaders will no doubt attack the Chiefs scrum, and with the Crusaders scrum wanting to prove a point but more importantly gain an edge in this game it is crucial the Chiefs hold up. I thought the Crusaders failed to use their scrum advantage as much as they could have last week and need to get that right, Read will of course help that as McCaw seemed to struggle at times with his timing last week. Then the Crusaders need to hold SBW, but equally the debutante centre in Horrell will be tested by Fruean and Fred – tackle drop offs here could well mean points. The match up of Carter and Cruden is of course critical to edge sides fortunes. Cruden is playing great rugby, consistent, inventive and accurate, he has arguably been the player of the year so far for the Chiefs. Carter will need to be at his best for the Crusaders to get a win here – the Chiefs defence is up there with the best and there is none better that Carter at breaching defences, whether by hand or foot. And I’m just looking forward to seeing the front rows square off, Romano v Retallick, Cane v McCAw, TKB v Ellis, Carter v Cruden and on it goes. Weather looks good – can’t wait. And I just think the little extra class will come through in the end.
Crusaders 1 – 12

Reds v Highlanders – What a great follow up. So two teams here that are hanging on to play off hopes by the skin of their teeth and really need a bonus point win to stay in the hunt. This brings a different pressure to bearof course and I wonder if the Highlanders have it in them to score those 4 tries, especially away and having Ellison out also a handicap. Still they will give it their all as usual and cause problems with their disruptive game plan. But the Reds are looking batter and better and turned in some quality play last week to have the Rebels done and dusted quite early on. Diggers is a big out, but they still have plenty of speed out wide and with the Burglar geting more match fit each week they will ask plenty of questions.Expect the forwards to break even with the more stable and creativeaxis of the Reds to steer them to a win.
Reds 13+

Sharks v Bulls – And then we get this beauty. The Bulls were fantastic last week. They switched off late, but prior to that were almost scoring at will, including an absolute cracker from Basson (arguably the individual try of the season). On that form they will be very very hard to beat. The Sharks had a bye last week and whilst that will freshen up their test players nicely, the changes they have made may well offset that in terms of stable combinations. The bus that is Frans Steyn is a great in for the Sharks,but his combination with Freddie is uncertain, and a new 8, 9, 10 in itself could be problematic though they are all experienced players. I think the more settled Bulls team in great form will shade this one.
Bulls 1 – 12

Blues v Force – hard to get enthused about this. Crowd numbers could be a worry. The Blues should get up. The Force have been as horrible as the Blues and with some key players missing will struggle. The Blues have a good blend of youth and experience and should have too many options for the Force.
Blues 13+

Waratahs v Brumbies – this is an intriguing game. The Waratahs have been horrible this year, shocking tactics, woeful execution and just plain dumb. So what do they now the season has gone, pull a selection rabbit out of the hat and go with a new halfback ( Grayson Hart no less) and a rookie 1 5/8. The rest of the back-line are all tried and tested Wallabies, some in good form and they will be up for this. Apart from Queensland this is the game they really set themselves for. The Brumbies need to keep winning to ensure themseleves a play off spot, any slip ups and the Reds could well take that one spot that seems likely for the Australian conference. There consistency has beenthe key, but they looked a little shaky last week and will need to tighten their defence.
Waratahs 1 – 12

Cheetahs v Stormers – The Cheetahs were horrible last week, the Stormers weren’t that flash themselves though they have that defence. And how does a side with that much talent in the backline score so few tries?
Stormers 13+

Lions v Rebels – Mmmmm. The mighty Rebels have too many outs for me.
Lions 13+