Cape Town – The 2019 Super Rugby season is done and dusted.
Congratulations to the Crusaders – for a 10th time – who walked away 19-3 winners in the final in Christchurch against the Jaguares.
The Crusaders, along with their fellow New Zealand sides, have now won a staggering 17 of the 24 Super Rugby finals to have been contested since the inaugural tournament in 1996.
From a South Africa point of view, there’s no other way to spin it other than to say it was a horror season. The Bulls and Sharks were the only sides to make the quarter-finals – and were beaten by the Hurricanes and Brumbies, respectively, in the last 8.
No surprise then that the final stats from the tournament also make for ugly reading for SA fans.
Typically one associates SA teams as ‘kick penalties first, score tries later’ while their New Zealand foes (in particular) employ a much easier on the eye reverse philosophy.
So, it’s no shock to find Bulls flyhalf Handre Pollard atop the overall points scorers charts (194), but no South African anywhere near the summit of the try-scorers list.
Indeed, one has to scroll down – and down – to find the leading SA try-scorer, and then it’s perhaps no shock to discover two FORWARDS scored the joint most SA tries in 2019.
Loose forwards Kwagga Smith (Lions) and Dan du Preez (Sharks) led the way with seven … a full eight tries fewer than the tournament’s most prolific try scorer, Crusaders wing Sevu Reece.
Tries win titles!
The ‘award’ for leading SA backline try-scorer was shared between Lions duo Courtnall Skosan and Aphiwe Dyantyi on six.
Based on the above it’s no surprise that the Lions were the leading SA try-scorers this season with 53 which was only good enough for eighth overall (out of 15).
The Bulls (46 tries for joint 10th), Sharks (41, 13th) and Stormers (34, joint 14th) trailed in the Johannesburg side’s wake.
The Crusaders dotted down a staggering 82 times.
Again, tries win titles!
The top four New Zealand sides scored a total of 276 tries, while SA’s four sides replied with fewer than half – 134.
Five other stats and facts that would only appeal to die-hard fans of numbers:
– There were six draws, more than any other season in the history of the competition.
– The Brumbies scored the most (43) and conceded the third fewest (22) first half tries of any team
– The Hurricanes won four games after trailing at half-time, more than any other team in the competition
– The Bulls finished with a league-high 93% success rate at the lineout on their own throw and were the only team in the competition to lose fewer than one lineout per game
– The Jaguares’ Pablo Matera was the only player to make 150+ carries and 150+ tackles through the tournament (179 carries, 168 tackles)
All stats courtesy of Opta