THIS stat 'killed' the Cheetahs

    2014-04-14 08:31
    Crusaders flyhalf Colin Slade (Gallo Images)

    Herman Mostert - Sport24

    Cape Town - Their defence was again substandard against the Crusaders on Saturday, but it was another stat which really proved the undoing of the Cheetahs.

    As it happened: Cheetahs v Crusaders

    The Crusaders ran in six tries to record a 52-31 victory and although the scoreline somewhat flattered the New Zealanders, they were full value for their five points.

    Yes, the Cheetahs did again slip some crucial tackles at key moments, but Sport24 reckons it was another statistic which proved vital in the outcome of the game.

    The Cheetahs got themselves into a winning position with some spectacular tries, and looked in control in the second half when they scored three times inside eight minutes to lead 31-26.

    But the Crusaders hit back with aplomb, scoring four tries in the last 17 minutes to rack up a half-century.

    And key to the Cheetahs conceding six on the night was more due to the TURNOVER stat than tackles slipped.

    The seven-time champions were far superior on the ground, winning no fewer than 10 turnovers compared to the meagre 2 won by the Cheetahs.

    Four of the Crusaders' six tries resulted directly from turnovers won, with massive 125kg wing Nemani Nadolo bagging a hat-trick in the process.

    Yes, the Cheetahs defence also let them down, but statistically they were actually better off in that department than their opponents, slipping 15 tackles compared to the Crusaders' 20.

    In-studio SuperSport pundit, Nick Mallett, summed it up pretty well afterwards when asked where things went wrong for the Cheetahs:

    "The Crusaders dominated the breakdown because their body position going into the ruck situation was far better than the Cheetahs' and they have more than one guy who can make those vital turnovers. I saw Andy Ellis (scrumhalf) make vital turnovers. There's a need to have a specialist fetcher in your team if you are playing against New Zealand opposition because they are very good at turning over possession," said Mallett.

    The Cheetahs may have been a fetcher short over the weekend, but they will be buoyed by the knowledge that Heinrich Brüssow made a return for Free State's Vodacom Cup side at the weekend, playing in their 28-15 loss to Western Province.

    Expect him to be back in the Super Rugby team for Saturday's match against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday...

    KEY STATS: Cheetahs v Crusaders

    Metres run: Cheetahs 400-507 Crusaders
    Carries: Cheetahs 92-93 Crusaders
    Defenders beaten: Cheetahs 20-15 Crusaders
    Clean breaks: Cheetahs 5-9 Crusaders
    Tackles made: Cheetahs 72-73 Crusaders
    Missed tackles: Cheetahs 15-20 Crusaders
    Turnovers won: Cheetahs 2-10 Crusaders
    Kicks in play: Cheetahs 28-33 Crusaders
    Lineouts won: Cheetahs 10-11 Crusaders
    Lineouts lost: Cheetahs 2-1 Crusaders
    Scrums won: Cheetahs 4-6 Crusaders
    Scrums lost: Cheetahs 0-2 Crusaders
    Penalties conceded: Cheetahs 8-7 Crusaders

    Know your rugby and go to
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