Lions, Stormers: Home little help?
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Cape Town – Statistical evidence does a meagre amount to
suggest the Lions and Stormers will benefit significantly from home advantage
in Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby quarter-finals against the Crusaders and
Although the controversial, ever-changing format of the
competition has to be taken quite heavily into account, teams from New Zealand
collectively experienced their best pre-knockout season in South Africa this
year, from a wins perspective, since the advent of conference-based systems in
Teams from the land of the long white cloud won six of eight
assignments on our soil in ordinary season; the 6-2 advantage in their favour is
their best return in the six years referred to and the first time since 2012
(6-4 superiority) that they won the majority of their fixtures here.
In 2015 the tally was 5-5, in 2014 5-3 to SA teams, and in
2013 7-3 in SA favour.
Of course the current system means the New Zealand
franchises didn’t get to play any games at all against the Stormers or the narrowly
non-qualifying Bulls, and filled their socks particularly successfully against
the weak Kings, but the fact remains that a pretty lousy two home-soil
victories were bagged against the NZ teams.
The Lions beat the Blues 43-5 at Emirates Airline Park and
the Sharks beat the Hurricanes (Saturday’s quarter-final opponents in
Wellington) 32-15 at Kings Park for a 25 percent success rate by SA teams in
their own dens against the generally rampant New Zealanders.
Overall this year, NZ rules the roost 11-4 in bilateral
Super Rugby clashes after completion of the conferences phase, considering that
they also won five and lost two of the scheduled games at home against SA
Their only blemishes were the Chiefs’ 36-32 reverse to the
Lions at Hamilton very early in the season, and later the defending champion
Highlanders’ 15-14 setback against the Sharks in Dunedin.
In a reflection of the particularly glaring weakness of the
Australian challenge this year, SA edged the bilateral bragging rights between
these countries 8-7 in ordinary season, including bagging five of six
encounters on our soil for an infinitely better home success rate of 83
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