Rugby Union 3 years ago

To win Super Rugby, you need to win the try tally

  • To win Super Rugby, you need to win the try tally

To make the Super Rugby finals you need to buy tries. It is a league that encourages try scoring, and history shows that high try-scoring teams make the playoffs, with the higher try scoring teams winning the competition. 

Last season, the only playoff team with fewer tries than the Force was the Sharks. The two teams sat on 37 and 32 respectively.

The other five playoffs teams excluding the Sharks make five of the top seven try scoring teams in the competition.

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The Waratahs, who scored 60 tries, won Super Rugby 2014.

TOP SEVEN TRY SCORING TEAMS IN SUPER RUGBY 2014

Waratahs

60

Brumbies

54

Hurricanes

49

Chiefs

48

Crusaders

48

Blues

46

Highlanders

42

Look five tries, and three places down this table and you will find the Western Force, sitting on 37.

The average tries scored per team for the 2014 was 41, putting all of the teams in the above table above the mean. This puts the Force six tries below the average, and seven tries behind the benchmark try-scoring playoff teams.

Now the argument could be made that the Force were using their defensive system to carry them through the 2014 season, but their tries against numbers and their points differential was below par compared to the benchmark teams. Statistics also show that pure defensive teams do not always make the playoffs, and that strong amounts of try scoring is needed.

The table below ranks the top eight teams in the competition in regards to points given up. A cross next to the teams name marks whether or not they made the playoffs.

TOP DEFENSIVE SUPER RUGBY 201 TEAMS IN REGARDS TO POINTS GIVEN UP (PLAYOFF TEAM DONOTED BY 'X')

Waratahs - X

272

Sharks - X

293

Crusaders - X

322

Stormers

326

Bulls

335

Brumbies - X

378

Chiefs - X

378

Force

393

This table shows a number of things;

  1. Pure defence is not going get a team over the line in Super Rugby. It got the Sharks atop of the South African Conference, and clinched them a playoff berth, but did not even get them into the Grand Final.

 

  1. Even though the Stormers and the Bulls were ranked very high in defence, their offensive production was not enough to get them into the playoffs.

 

  1. The top three teams in the competition were the top three teams defensively. This seems as if it could make my theory invalid, however, out of the two teams who made the Super Rugby grand final, one was ranked first in both offence and defence, and the other was ranked in the top five for offence, and the top three for defence.

 

  1. My last point, which relates back to the Western Force, shows that although they were a team known for their pure defence, they still did not rank inside the top five for defence.

To make the Super Rugby finals the Force, at an absolute minimum, are going to have to have eight or nine wins, score seven bonus point tries amongst a total of 42 tries.

They will then need to back up this offensive performance with the same defence they produced last season. This, following numerical and statistical trends should put them in playoff contention.

Look for a big 2015 campaign from the Boys in Blue. Remember, the Waratahs finished ninth the year before they won the championship!

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