The Roar
The Roar


SANZAR reports the ‘shape of the game’ is positive

14th August, 2012

The following was issued yesterday as a press release by SANZAR after the 2012 Super Rugby season.

The 2012 Super Rugby season came to an end last weekend, and from a game perspective SANZAR Game Manager Lyndon Bray said “this had to be one of the most successful seasons we have seen in regards to how the game was played throughout a campaign.”

“The statistics indicate a good shape to the game, helping Super Rugby to be a better spectacle for the fans while being fun to play and referee.”

The main statistics of interest are as follows:

(Stats per game averages):

“The penalty count is less, while ball in play time is a strong 17 minutes plus per half, up on a few years ago, when we were lucky to get 14 minutes per half,” Bray said.

There was a major focus at scrum time this year, to try and improve the success rate of scrums on the first hit. The percentage in 2011 saw only 45% of scrums getting the ball cleared. In 2012, 60% indicates very strong progress towards improving the scrum.


Bray was not entirely happy.

“I am really pleased with the efforts of both the referees and the teams, but there is still work to do around the attitude & technique at scrum time,” he said.

“When you break the stats down at scrum time, we still have an issue in terms of how many scrums collapse (go to ground), and there are also still too many instances of teams breaking the engage call and going early into the hit.”

These two areas will create a focus for the review meetings about to start, across all three countries.

The tackle has also highlighted some interesting statistics:

“We know that approximately 58% of the penalties at the tackle are awarded to the attacking team,” Bray said.

“A concern to consider, is that the ball carrier is still penalised a lot, the aim is to create quicker ball and opportunity for attack, while at the same time ensuring there is still a contest at the tackle, and that will be a major emphasis of the review with the coaches – that is, are we getting the balance right?”


It was interesting to note that two of the most successful attacking sides made it to the Final.

“Both the Chiefs and the Sharks headed the table in terms of clean breaks and offloads,” Bray said.

“I guess it is nice to see these really positive attacking stats get rewarded in terms of their place on the ladder.”

“At the same time, the Stormers had the best defensive record by a large margin, which was rewarded by the fact that they finished the highest on the ladder in the Regular Season, but the more successful attacking team beat them in the Super Rugby semi-final, as it turns out.”

The hard work starts now, in preparation for the 2013 competition.

“We start the review process immediately, while the competition is fresh in the minds of the coaches and the referees,” Bray said.

“We put the facts in front of the coaches and referees, in each country, and get them to workshop what the stats are telling us: the good and the bad. The aim is to come away with some really strong messages, for us to work on with both the teams and the referees, as we head into the build up to 2013.”