As the 2014 season finishes up, we've taken a close look at some numerical anomalies.
Super Rugby 2014 is drawing to a close ahead of Saturday's final, so we've taken a look at some numerical anomalies.
Here are the ten surprising stats that we dug up based on the action in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa over the last few months.
92 – offloads by the Bulls, the lowest in the competition
Watching the Bulls in 2014 has not been that fun unless you were part of the Victor Matfield fan club. This statistic handily sums up their insistence on putting the ball on the boot.
Take into account the Waratahs' offloads total was 231 and you see how differently both sides play. The Bulls were the only team to not break 100.
31 – average number of kicks by the Sharks per game.
Jake White's policy had worked well this season until his kickers fluffed their lines in Christchurch.
We've seen what can happen to opposing sides when the Sharks' kicking game runs perfectly. Don't expect a shift in tactics next year.
38% – the lowest home win percentage in 2014, Reds and Rebels.
Teams don't get anywhere without winning their home games; it's a tale as old as time.
These two sides though were a shambles, winning just three of their eight matches that took place on home soil at Suncorp and the AAMI.
59 – highest number of tries conceded, by the Cheetahs.
Everybody loves watching the Cheetahs attack opposition sides with the ball in hand, but there's no way they're going to win anything conceding an average of 3.7 tries per game. Shambolic defence.
84.1% – the lowest tackle success percentage, held by… the Sharks?
Considering how highly regarded the Sharks defence is by all, this is a strange one.
The Sharks were less successful with their tackling than anyone else in 2014, despite conceding the second lowest amount of points.
91% and 75% – the best scrum (Lions) and the worst (Brumbies).
Good on the Lions for finishing 2014 with the best scrum. A relatively unheralded eight with no Springboks in sight given Franco van der Merwe's absence through injury have beaten the rest of the chasing pack under Johan Ackermann's guidance.
On the flipside, it's surprising to see the Brumbies finish bottom in this area by some way – eight percent to be exact. Stephen Moore's absence can be pinpointed but their props – Scott Sio and Ben Alexander – haven't played too poorly.
11 – the highest number of yellow cards per team (Cheetahs, Brumbies)
There are two kings of the naughty step this year. Winning in Super Rugby is hard enough without a full contingent.
Of the 1280 minutes played by both teams this season, they spent 8.6 percent of that time with a man in the bin.
In contrast, the Bulls conceded the fewest yellow cards this year with just four.
23 – highest number of offloads by a forward, Wycliff Palu
Watching the Waratahs rise to the top of Super Rugby has been fun, but more so because players whose form had dipped are back to their best.
Palu is firmly in that category and scanning through the top ten for most offloads this season his name stuck out as the only forward, at number seven ahead of Willie le Roux and Tim Nanai-Williams. Good work.
3 – fewest points scored by a player in Super Rugby 2014
We always tend to focus on the top points scorers in the competition – Bernard Foley with 229 – but what about the lowest?
That honour goes to Sharks full-back SP Marais, with his single penalty coming in the win over the Blues back in March.
14, 97, 21 – gaps between first and second place in the categories for Defenders Beaten, Metres and Offloads
All three of the leading numbers in these categories are noteworthy, but what makes them special is how high those figures are compared to the closest competitor. What's less of a shock is how they come from three standout players.
Malakai Fekitoa (65) went past 14 more defenders than his closest rival Julian Savea. Ben Smith (1265) nearly made 100 metres more than Jesse Mogg. Finally, back to the offloads, Israel Folau with 47 was miles ahead of Fekitoa's 26.
We expect sizeable gaps for points scored or conceded, but not in tight areas such as those.