SANZAR successfully tackle the breakdown to make the game a better spectacle
By targeting key areas of the game, SANZAR believes that the 2012 Super Rugby season has been one of the most successful in terms of how the game is played.
SANZAR game manager, Lyndon Bray said: “The statistics indicate a good shape to the game, helping Super Rugby to be a better for the fans while being fun to play and referee.”
The key goals to which Bray refers are:
- The tackle: 70% of ball to be available within 3 seconds
- The scrum: 70% of scrums completed on the first hit
- Ball in play: 35-40 minutes per game
- Offside at ruck: less than 5 missed per game by the referee
- Kicks in play: less than 45 kicks per game
- A lower penalty count
With the exception of the scrum, all the key goals were achieved, although even in this fall down area, a high score of 60% of scrums completed on the first hit was achieved.
Brays said: “The penalty count is less, while ball in play time is a strong 17 minutes plus per half, up on a few years ago, when we were lucky to get 14 minutes per half,” Bray said.
There was a major focus at scrum time this year, to try and improve the success rate of scrums on the first hit. The percentage in 2011 saw only 45% of scrums getting the ball cleared. In 2012, 60% indicates very strong progress towards improving the scrum.
“I am really pleased with the efforts of both the referees and the teams, but there is still work to do around the attitude & technique at scrum time,” he said.
“When you break the stats down at scrum time, we still have an issue in terms of how many scrums collapse (go to ground), and there are also still too many instances of teams breaking the engage call and going early into the hit.”
These two areas will create a focus for the review meetings about to start, across all three countries.
The tackle has also highlighted some interesting statistics:
“We know that approximately 58% of the penalties at the tackle are awarded to the attacking team,” Bray said.
“A concern to consider, is that the ball carrier is still penalised a lot, the aim is to create quicker ball and opportunity for attack, while at the same time ensuring there is still a contest at the tackle, and that will be a major emphasis of the review with the coaches – that is, are we getting the balance right?”
It was interesting to note that two of the most successful attacking sides made it to the Final.
“Both the Chiefs and the Sharks headed the table in terms of clean breaks and offloads,” Bray said.
“I guess it is nice to see these really positive attacking stats get rewarded in terms of their place on the ladder.”
“At the same time, the Stormers had the best defensive record by a large margin, which was rewarded by the fact that they finished the highest on the ladder in the Regular Season, but the more successful attacking team beat them in the Super Rugby semi-final, as it turns out.”
The hard work starts now, in preparation for the 2013 competition.
“We start the review process immediately, while the competition is fresh in the minds of the coaches and the referees,” Bray said.
“We put the facts in front of the coaches and referees, in each country, and get them to workshop what the stats are telling us: the good and the bad. The aim is to come away with some really strong messages, for us to work on with both the teams and the referees, as we head into the build up to 2013.”
Game averages for SANZAR priorities: