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Rugby-Talk.comHi rugby friends,

Quite a landmark was hit somewhere today… we went over 15 Million Page Impressions!!!

I never thought, 5 years, 9 months and 20 days ago that Rugby-Talk.com would develop into the beast it has become, not in my wildest dreams!

As of writing this newsletter, we stand on 15 001 740 Page Impressions (since measurement started on 31 October 2009), with 12 520 News Articles PLUS 242 other live Pages and 409 195 Comments. It is a fenominal feat, I am totally gobsmacked feel like jumping over the moon about it.

It takes hard work and dedication and a very real love for Rugby Union to keep the portal going and it takes a loyal en fervent readership, who also love the sport to make it the success it has been for a long time and will continue to be long into the future.

To every author, contributor, user and reader of Rugby-Talk.com, a sincere word of thanks and appreciation, it is deeply felt!

Keep reading, keep commenting and keep supporting not only this website, but the sport we enjoy so much.

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Vodacom Stats AppWith only 5 Rounds left before the 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby playoffs the top performing players in the competition are starting to cement their places in the top stats on the Vodacom Rugby App.

Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard is opening a considerable gap at the top of the Points category scoring 143 points for the Vodacom Bulls over 12 Rounds of rugby.

His closest rival is New Zealand pivot Beauden Barrett of the Hurricanes with 110 points with the Brumbies’ Christian Lealiifano and Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies sharing 3rd place with 103.

Stormers flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis is the 3rd South African at the top with the 101 points he scored so far this season.

Bulls winger Francois Hougaard and Cell C Sharks flanker Marcell Coetzee represent the country in the Tries category with scoring 5 apiece.

The top try-scorer after 12 Rounds of Vodacom Super Rugby is Highlanders flyer Waisake Naholo with 8, while the Hurricanes’ TJ Perenara and Julian Savea scored 7 and 6 respectively.

Equally influential are the men that made the tries happen, with Toyota Cheetahs fullback Willie le Roux sharing the top spot in terms of Try Assists with the Waratahs’ Israel Folau and Nic White of the Brumbies with 6 apiece.

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Super RugbyIn sport, teams will have strengths and weaknesses and this often dictates where their scoring threat comes from and Super Rugby is no different. This week we take a more in depth look at where tries originate from, and which teams are more likely to score from certain scenarios.

 

The Set Piece:

Scrums and lineouts are often the best facets of the game to put training pitch moves into action. The Brumbies boast the best lineout success rate in Super Rugby this season (91%) and it is no surprise that they have scored the most tries this season when possession has begun with a throw-in.

However, what is surprising is just how many of their tries come from the lineout. Of the 22 tries the Brumbies have scored this season, 18 have started with the Canberra-based side winning their own lineout – a staggering 82% of their total. No other side has reached double figures for the same aspect of the game, however the Cheetahs are the next-best team when it comes to making the most off ball secured from their lineout.

The Bloemfontein side has scored 9 tries after beginning possession with a lineout, making up 53% of their overall tries, whilst the Rebels (46%) and the Lions (45%) aren’t far behind when their tallies are broken down into percentages.

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Super RugbyThis week, we look at the last 4 years of Super Rugby to examine which sides have been the best when not in occupancy of the ball and whether strong defence has been key to overall success.

 

2011

Despite being 1 of the 5 sides that completed over 1800 tackles in the season, eventual champions, the Reds, still maintained a strong tackling success rate of 89%.

The Queenslanders were middle-of-the-pack in many aspects with the ball during their title-winning season, but proved a tough nut to crack in other areas. They were among the top defensive sides when it came to winning ‘jackals’ (overall turnovers won from tackles) and were well-disciplined, going all the way to the Final with 6 other teams accumulating more defensive penalties than them in fewer matches.

Other conference winners, the Crusaders and the Stormers ranked equal-1st for total turnovers won, as well as figuring close to the summit with their tackling success rates. Good defence was definitely a match winner in 2011.

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South African Rugby Annual 2015The 2015 edition of the South African Rugby Annul goes on sale nationwide today after being launched at Sunday’s South African Rugby Union Awards in Johannesburg.

In keeping with tradition, the 44th edition of the ‘bible’ of the game once again features South Africa’s player of the year on the cover, with the newly-crowned Duane Vermeulen following in the footsteps of the likes of Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana and Schalk Burger in recent years.

“Even in this digital age, it’s vitally important to retain a physical document of record for future generations,” said SARU CEO, Jurie Roux. “SARU strives to be a world leader in the game both on and off the field and when it comes to the Annual, we are immensely proud of the quality of the book we continue to produce year in and year out.

“We like to believe that we have an outstanding yearbook but that hasn’t stopped us from raising the bar even further with this new-look, Rugby World Cup-themed edition. We’ve made it a more user-friendly size, refreshed the layout and added a depth to the statistical records that surpasses anything we’ve done before,” Roux added.

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Heinrich BrussowHeinrich Brüssow is not just hype, he is the ultimate openside flank.

The 27-year-old Cheetahs star, who played the last of his 20 Tests in the 2011 World Cup quarterfinal, returned to Super Rugby for the Cheetahs against the Sharks last week after missing the first half of the season with a fractured toe – suffered while playing for his Japanese club.

And while the Cheetahs lost 8-19, the influence and value of Brüssow was there for all to see.

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Super RugbyLooking back on Round 2 of Super Rugby 2014, the first full Round where all three participating nations took part in Super Rugby, it might be good to look at some key factors coming to light in the Round.

The official SANZAR website, www.sanzarrugby.com brings you the seven key statistics over the second round of the 2014 season.

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New ZealandArgentinaIn anticipation for this weekend’s clash between the All Blacks and the Pumas, here is a head to head breakdown of how the two teams compare.

These teams have met each other 16 times in the past, with the All Blacks not having lost once against the Pumas, there is however 1 draw between these teams but this was way back in 1985 with a final score of 21-21, which ironically is also the highest ever score posted by a Puma side against the All Blacks.

The All Blacks score a average of 43 points per match vs the 13 of the Pumas. So an average result of 43-13 in favour of the All Blacks sounds like a very accurate prediction. The All Blacks will be firm favourites to take this one and there is no evidence to suggest otherwise.

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defaultMedia analysts love to roll out the stats. They point to the number of missed tackles by one team or the percentage of territory of the other, but the surface numbers are utterly meaningless. They tell coaches next to nothing about the game. The stats are often numerical fiction.

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Super RugbyHave you ever wondered where the TV and Radio Commentators get all their statistics on Teams, Coaching Staff, Players, participating Countries and detailed Tournament History?

Well, wonder no more, because here is exactly what they work from, for your own personal pleasure!

I took the trouble and the liberty to take the 402 page printed Media Guide Book – converted it into a fully indexed PDF Document (which opens with any version of Adobe Reader – which is normally installed on almost all computers – and the latest version of Adobe Reader XI [Free version or Professional version] is available for download and installation from www.adobe.com).

If you do not have Adobe Reader, you certainly still live in the stone age and definately do not belong in front of a computer… with your knuckles certainly scraping the ground when you walk! Tell you what, I’ll even teach you to make fire and help you re-invent the wheel… how’s that?

Whoopie!

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With the international season taking a bit of a breather, I thought some informative statistics would be interesting. I am looking at the home record of the top nations, seeing when was the last time they lost a home test to each of the other nations.

I would think any nation would expect at least a 75% home win record as the minimm standard to attain. anything less would mean your home ground advantage counts for very little and travelling teams do not find it a daunting task to tour.

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With SA Ruby (SARU) in the throngs of considering the appointment of a new Rugby coach for the Springboks, when Peter de Villiers’ contract concludes in December 2011, it might be prudent to look at results in the last 4 years.

The first thing which emerges is that there has been a steady decline in winning percentages over the last 4 years.

During the first 2 years of the reign of Peter de Villiers the winning percentage was an average of 68 % but during the last 2 years of his reign it has dropped to an average of 56.5 % for those 2 years.

It has to be noted that Peter de Villiers inherited a World Cup winning squad, which has now slipped to No 4 in the IRB rankings, below France.

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