Super Rugby Aotearoa

Round 6 of the the Super Rugby Aotearoa produced two thrilling encounters this past weekend as rematches commenced.

Round 6 of the Super Rugby Aotearoa produced two thrilling encounters this past weekend, as the teams passed the halfway stage of the competition and the rematches commenced. With the competition leaders, the Crusaders enjoying a bye, both games were decided in the shadows of full-time as the Hurricanes battled it out with the Blues and came out on top 29-27, while the Chiefs went down 33-31 at home taking on the Highlanders.

We look back at their first encounter in the competition to compare the numbers and investigate the what was different this time around.

Hurricanes vs Blues (29-27)

The first time these two teams met in the competition the Blues took the Hurricanes down 30-20, so this rematch, although a tighter contest in terms of score, saw revenge being served.

What was different?

The most obvious change in numbers was the ‘Canes having the obvious upper hand on both attack and defense this time around. Their line breaks jumped from 5 to 14, while the Blues who converted four line breaks into three tries the first time around only managed to break through the defenses twice. Kicking efficiency was pivotal with the team missing the most conversions losing on both occasions – the Blues went from 100% success to only 50%. Scrum success improved by the ‘Canes – while the Blues remained unmoved, and both teams improved on their lineouts. Discipline, was severely lacking for both teams in the first encounter but much improved this time around with the overall penalties conceded improving from 30 (16 from the Blues) to only 15 (8 from the Blues). In both matches the team with the higher tackle efficiency was the winner.

Highlanders vs Chiefs (33-31)

This rematch was a repeat of the first outing in terms of score with Round 1 also having ended with the Highlanders getting the better of the Chiefs in an exciting 28-27 battle.

What else was the same?

Not very much really. The first match saw the scoring momentum sway back and forth between the teams with the Chiefs having more possession but the Highlanders coming out on top in the dying moments. This time around it was a battle of two halves with the Chiefs scoring unanswered for most of the first half despite having less possession, and the Highlanders then utilising their superior possession and returning the favour for most of the second. The Chiefs were better on defense in terms of tackle efficiency in both games, yet line breaks tell a very different tale and prove the rematch was a very different animal. The winning Highlanders only ran through the defensive lines six times in the first match-up while they watched the Chiefs succeed 11 times. This time around the Chiefs were left watching their defenses be breached 19 times and, in turn they were only successful on four attempts. Five rounds later and discipline was better yet, handling worse by both teams.

Each game is a different beast, but the numbers always provide an interesting story!

As Round 7 looms this weekend it is obvious that in this ten week competition with no play-offs or finals, the stakes are high and the scores do not tell the whole story. Each game is a different beast and a peak into the numbers will provide an interesting perspective.



Amy Bathgate
About the Author
Amy Bathgate is the Operations Manager at VS Sports, playing an integral role in product development, innovation, and design, and heading up a team of enthusiastic analysts working towards transforming the way sport is analyzed, scouted, and experienced. With over a decade of expertise in consulting, biomechanics, and performance analysis across various disciplines and levels, she understands that the little details make a big difference. One of her passions and specialties is swimming, and she assists and drives athletes and coaches to achieve their performance potentials using stroke and race analysis to better their understanding of the complexities of the sport in order to go faster and train and perform more efficiently. Amy is also a Dartfish Certified Instructor, certified in Functional Movement Screening, and a former lecturer at the University of Pretoria.