Cape Town – On Friday we analysed the Bulls’ season so far and arrived at a battle plan for success against the Chiefs, using statistics from Verusco, the New Zealand-based company who supply video analysis systems (and the same numbers we use) to most of the South African Super 14 teams – including the Bulls.
The stats indicated that the Chiefs were vulnerable at flyhalf (Stephen Donald had conceded an amazing 46 turnovers); they had dangerous runners who were prone to handling errors under pressure; and their lineout was shaky.
For the Bulls to win, we said they had to keep missed tackles to a minimum; force as many turnovers as possible and then take every scoring opportunity that came their way; and pin the Chiefs back with an intelligent kicking game.
Let’s then look at the numbers from the Bulls v Chiefs game that coaches Frans Ludeke and Ian Foster would have spent the public holiday poring over, and see how the home side eked out a 33-27 victory to climb into home semi-final contention with three rounds remaining.
Firstly, it must be noted that the Bulls were outstanding in that they never allowed the Chiefs to pull away on the most important ‘stat’ of all – the scoreboard. Every point the visitors scored was reeled in swiftly and confidently – the sign of an unflappable and confident team, unfazed by whatever it is their opponents throw at them.
Bulls: 19 (most – Pierre Spies, 3)
Chiefs: 21 (most – Hika Elliot, 4)
Going into the match, the Chiefs had conceded 19% more turnovers (245-206) than the Bulls. The home side laid the platform for victory by robbing the ball from the visitors with regularity, and ensuring they conceded fewer turnovers themselves.
Bulls: Attempted 148, Made 102, Missed 46, Efficiency 68.91%
Chiefs: Attempted 148, Made 106, Missed 42, Efficiency 71.62%
Before the game, the Chiefs had an efficiency of 76.59% (avg. 35 missed tackles per match), compared to the Bulls’ 73.25% (avg. 47 per match). Both sides therefore produced unspectacular tackling performances compared to their season averages, but virtually cancelled each other out in this department on the night. For the record, Wynand Olivier (11) and Tanerau Latimer (17) made the most tackles for their teams, while Pierre Spies (6) and Toby Morland (5) missed the most tackles.
Bulls: 25 (most – Bryan Habana, 4)
Chiefs: 27 (most – Dwayne Sweeney, 4)
Pre-game the Chiefs had made 36.5% more fumbles than the Bulls (273-200) and the trend continued on Saturday, albeit by a lesser margin. But every knock-on by a Chiefs back meant that another dangerous attack was repelled.
Lineouts lost on own throw:
Bulls: 2 (Derick Kuun)
Chiefs: 6 (Hikawera Elliot 4, Aled de Malmanche 2)
The season totals saw the Chiefs ahead 30-19 in lost lineouts on own throw, and they were once again found wanting in this department, despite Victor Matfield’s early troubles stemming from illegal Chiefs play at this set piece (a lineout does not count as lost on own throw if the opposition are responsible for illegal tactics that result in the lost throw).
Kicking metres gained – flyhalves:
Before the match, Morné Steyn had gained 51% more metres with the boot than Donald (7 463m to 4 934m) and on Saturday the Bulls No 10 shaded the duel by just 40 metres. More importantly, however, was that Steyn also contributed 18 points with the boot, including a sweet drop goal, compared to Donald’s 12.
Perhaps fitting for two sides who matched each other try for try, the Bulls and Chiefs cancelled each other out by each making eight line breaks and six tackle breaks. But, as we have shown above, the Bulls ticked enough pre-match boxes to prevail by a slender margin.
Join us again on Friday, when we’ll analyse how the Stormers and Cheetahs managed to beat their Kiwi opposition last weekend, and more importantly predict whether they can do it again in Week 12’s fixtures, against the Chiefs and Waratahs respectively.
• Verusco are suppliers of video analysis systems to most of the South African Super 14 teams. Find out more at www.verusco.com or email email@example.com