S15: SA try crisis deepens

    2015-05-18 22:25

    Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

    Cape Town - The discomfort and sometimes pure ineptitude of South African teams with ball in hand in Super Rugby is becoming more and more apparent this year.

    Statistics after the 14th round of the competition at the weekend point all too glaringly at collective deficiencies in the attack department.

    Just for starters, New Zealand teams pulled even further ahead of the other two nations for try-scoring: their five teams have registered 177 between them, topped by the log-leading Hurricanes and the reawakening Crusaders notching 41 each thus far.

    The come the Australians with 139, whilst South Africa bring up the rear with 127 - exactly 50 behind the NZ conference total.

    Admittedly not helped by having a bye round in a depressing weekend when all four other SA sides lost, the Stormers - albeit perhaps our best shot at title glory now - slumped to bottom berth overall in the “tries for” department (21).

    That situation came about because the Reds, previously in the basement slot on 19, came alive on Friday to register six tries in an unexpected Brisbane romp against the Rebels and advance to a more satisfying 25.

    No South African side makes the top six for tries, with the out-of-contention Cheetahs the country’s best in seventh (29), followed by the Bulls and Sharks (27 each), Lions (23) and then particularly try-shy Stormers.

    Four-try bonus points also go a long way to bearing out why the SA challenge for finals series spots looks unconvincing this year: NZ sides have scooped as many as 21 by that route (the Hurricanes’ seven the individual standout), Aussie outfits 15 and our teams a near-paltry nine between them.

    Perhaps as significantly, among the stats for individual players, the best South African player comes in at ninth (the Stormers’ Damian de Allende, 114) for ball-carries - leading the pack is the Waratahs’ Kurtley Beale with 174.

    Further evidence that SA players aren’t used to being consistently in possession or on the front foot comes via the latest tackling stats: here the country does feature an enormous lot with Lions captain Warren Whiteley way out in front (188) and joined by six other South African hogging the top 10.

    The only exceptions are Australian Michael Hooper (Waratahs, second to Whiteley with 139 hits), plus New Zealanders Sam Cane (Chiefs) and Brad Shields (Hurricanes).

    All of these figures suggest generally besieged, uninspiring South African teams ...

    *Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing


    Read More On:  super 15 warren whiteley rugby

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