• Chiefs strike strong balance

    The Chiefs impressed with their defence as well as their attack in the clash against the Brumbies in Canberra, writes JON CARDINELLI.

    Overall, the Chiefs have been the most effective attacking side in this year's tournament. According to SARugbymag.co.za's Opta-powered stats, the Chiefs currently lead the way for metres made, clean breaks and offloads.

    They're also streets ahead of the chasing pack in terms of finishing. The Chiefs have racked up 34 tries in six matches, while the next best side, the Crusaders, has scored 22. 

    Their attack was in sublime touch in the recent match in Canberra. The statement is substantiated by their metres made (493), clean breaks (19) and defenders beaten (22) stats.

    Several of their players feature in the top five across the various attacking categories. Damian McKenzie has made a big impression in 2016. After six matches, the Chiefs fullback tops the overall stats for carries (82), defenders beaten (30), not to mention tries (seven) and points scored (108).

    The Chiefs defence made a big statement in the recent match against the Brumbies. While they missed 16 tackles, they forced 12 turnovers, more than any other team in round six. Several of their tries were scored on the counter-attack.

    They also out-kicked a strong tactical Brumbies side, with 20 kicks in play to the Australians' 13. It was a complete performance by a Chiefs team that looks destined for the playoffs.

    The four New Zealand teams in action this past weekend were successful. That said, those who didn't watch the thriller at Ellis Park and see the final stats may wonder how the Crusaders beat the Lions.

    While the attacking stats were fairly even, the Lions shaded the Crusaders in metres made, defenders beaten and carries. The Lions were poor on defence, missing 19 tackles. That said, the Crusaders were even worse in this department, missing a whopping 29.

    There's more to be read in the Lions' high error-rate, as well as their substandard performance at the attacking breakdowns. They conceded possession on 12 occasions. While the Crusaders missed a lot of tackles, their defence forced seven turnovers and their attack was more clinical in finishing their chances.

    In the disappointing derby at Loftus Versfeld, the Cheetahs attack turned over possession on 19 occasions, while the Bulls dropped the ball 13 times. The hapless Cheetahs also missed 21 tackles.

    The Kings missed 22 tackles in their bottom of the table clash against the Sunwolves, but made an impressive 158. While they won the match in Port Elizabeth, their handling and execution require work. The Kings attack lost possession 24 times, more than any other team in round six.

    More Super Rugby statistics

    Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

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    Jon Cardinelli