After 120 league matches, we say cheers to the Lions and Stormers while the Sharks head off to Canberra for a quarter-final, and the Bulls pretend to be excited about the unenviable task of taking on the Hurricanes in Wellington.
The 2019 quarter-finals (all times SA):
Friday, June 21
Crusaders v Highlanders – Christchurch 09:35 (QF 1)
Saturday, June 22
Jaguares v Chiefs – Buenos Aires – 00:05 (QF 3)
Hurricanes v Bulls – Wellington – 09:35 (QF 2)
Brumbies v Sharks – Canberra – 12:05 (QF 4)
As we head into the playoffs, we take a gander at the season stats for both SA contenders, comparing a few of them to those from the log-leading Crusaders.
It is interesting to note that the Bulls seem much happier to take the points on offer, having scored 410 points (close on 70 more than the Sharks), with 135 of them via penalties.
The Sharks are happy to take the ball through the phases, having made more carries, metres and passes, but the men from Pretoria are more effective with ball in hand, having made more line breaks and tackle breaks. Better than the Sharks yes, but not even in the same ballpark as the Crusaders, who own the attacking stats.
Defensively, it’s the Bulls who have harvested more turnovers, seemingly from their monstrous 216 dominant tackles which then put the opposition under pressure. The Crusaders seem to create their turnovers from a more systemic defence that creates pressure, rather than the actual tackle.
Amazingly, both sides have similar kicking stats, with both SA sides having made use of the boot a whole lot more than the Crusaders.
A look at the season’s stats for both sides:
- Points: SHA 343-410 BUL (Crusaders: 476)
- Tries: SHA 40-42 BUL (Crusaders: 70)
- Conversions: SHA 31-31 BUL
- Missed conversions: SHA 9-11 BUL
- Penalties slotted: SHA 27-45 BUL
- Penalties missed: SHA 9-8 BUL
- Drop Goals: SHA 0-1 BUL
- Ball Carries: SHA 1,652-1,536 BUL (Crusaders: 1,715)
- Metres run: SHA 10,554-9,414 BUL
- Metres per carry: SHA 6.3-6.1 BUL
- Line breaks: SHA 57-67 BUL (Crusaders: 91)
- Tackle breaks: SHA 63-78 BUL (Crusaders: 84)
- Passes: SHA 2,263-1,905 BUL
- Good Passes: SHA 2,015-1,677 BUL
- Offloads: SHA 145-130 BUL (Crusaders: 171)
- Turnovers conceded: SHA 234-200 BUL (Crusaders: 213)
- Tackles made: SHA 1,995-2,082 BUL (Crusaders: 2,015)
- Tackles missed: SHA 232-306 BUL (Crusaders: 241)
- Tackle success: SHA 90% – 87% BUL
- Dominant tackles: SHA 192-216 BUL (Crusaders: 118)
- Tackle turnover: SHA 46-46 BUL (Crusaders: 36)
- Turnovers won: SHA 46-73 BUL (Crusaders: 79)
- Kicks from hand: SHA 342-347 BUL (Crusaders: 288)
- Metres kicked: SHA 9,655-10,006 BUL (Crusaders: 7,669)
- Handling errors: SHA 246-244 BUL (Crusaders: 232)
- Penalties conceded: SHA 122-125 BUL (Crusaders: 129)
- Penalties – scrum: SHA 25-19 BUL
- Penalties – offside: SHA 20-33 BUL
- Free kicks conceded: SHA 5-5 BUL
- Yellow cards: SHA 5-3 BUL
- Red cards: SHA 1-1 BUL
First phase stats:
- Lineouts won: SHA 164-161 BUL
- Lineouts stolen: SHA 7-10 BUL
Next week’s semi-final lineups will come from the following pre-determined draw, with the highest ranked team to host:
SF1: Winner QF1 v Winner QF2
SF2: Winner QF3 v Winner QF4
So, Bulls in Christchurch and Sharks to Buenos Aires then?