Forget the “game of two halves” cliché, instead the truly astonishing stats out of Christchurch reveal game plans from the complete opposite sides of the rugby spectrum.
Only the Brumbies have been asked to make more tackles in a game than the Sharks made on Friday against the Crusaders at the AMI Stadium.
On that occasion, the Aussies made a whopping 275 tackles in an abrasive two-point win against the Stormers at Newlands, missing 12.
In Christchurch, the Sharks were asked to make a monstrous 225 tackles against a Crusaders side intent on keeping ball in hand (666m from 153 carries), and only missed 7 for a seriously impressive tackle success-rate of 97%.
It reflected an in-your-face defensive effort that put the home side under enormous pressure – enough pressure for them to concede an unparalleled 15 turnovers. Enough pressure to come within seconds of becoming the first side to win at the AMI in 26 games!
And this without scoring a single try!
Instead, all the Sharks points came from the boot of flyhalf Curwin Bosch as the visitors opted to take all points on offer from the 13 penalties conceded by the Crusaders. One could argue that the two shots at goal missed by the young flyhalf cost the visitors the game, but that would be incredibly critical of what was an impressive performance.
Almost unbelievably though, it was the home side who ended the match with an even better tackle success-rate, having missed none – not one – tackle of the mere 88 asked of them.
The men in white enjoyed only 30% of the possession, and less than 40% in the territorial battle. They did carve off 235m more than the home side via 10 more kicks, though – a proven winning strategy. And boy did they come close to doing exactly that.
But it was the ball-in-hand approach of the home side that eventually delivered their third, score-equalling try. Game plans from the complete opposite sides of the rugby spectrum.
A look at the match stats from AMI Stadium Christchurch:
- Points: CRU 21-21 SHA
- Tries: CRU 3-0 SHA
- Penalty goals: CRU 0-7 SHA
- Missed penalty goals: CRU 0-2 SHA
- Goal kicking %: CRU 100% – 78% SHA
- Possession: CRU 70% – 30% SHA
- Territory: CRU 61% – 39% SHA
- Ball in play: 31 minutes
- Ball Carries: CRU 153-51 SHA
- Metres run: CRU 666-201 SHA
- Metres per carry: CRU 4.3-3.9 SHA
- Line breaks: CRU 3-1 SHA
- Tackle breaks: CRU 3-1 SHA
- Passes: CRU 163-69 SHA
- Good Passes: CRU 158-59 SHA
- Offloads: CRU 3-4 SHA
- Turnovers conceded: CRU 15-11 SHA
- Tackles made: CRU 88-218 SHA
- Tackles missed: CRU 0-7 SHA
- Tackle success: CRU 100% – 97% SHA
- Tackle turnover: CRU 0-3 SHA
- Dominant tackles: CRU 0-8 SHA
- Turnovers won: CRU 3-5 SHA
- Kicks from hand: CRU 13-23 SHA
- Metres kicked: CRU 304-540 SHA
- Metres per kick: CRU 23.4-23.5 SHA
- Handling errors: CRU 9-9 SHA
- Penalties conceded: CRU 13-10 SHA
- Yellow cards: CRU 0-0 SHA
First phase stats:
- Lineouts won: CRU 12-7 SHA
- Lineouts stolen: CRU 0-0 SHA
- Scrums won: CRU 6-6 SHA
- Scrums lost: CRU 0-2 SHA
- Own kickoff won: CRU 0-0 SHA
- Own kickoff lost: CRU 9-3 SHA
- Rucks won: CRU 120-44 SHA
- Rucks lost: CRU 2-2 SHA
- Mauls won: CRU 4-1 SHA
- Mauls lost: CRU 1-1 SHA