‘Lions need better kicking strategy’

JOHN MITCHELL, writing for the Vodacom Rugby Portal, on what the stats tell us about the performances of South Africa's teams in round one.

From a purely statistical point of view, the Lions should have beaten the Hurricanes at Ellis Park on Friday night. They enjoyed 70% possession, made 418 running metres compared to the visitors' 220, while the Hurricanes made 122 tackles to the hosts' 61. Most interestingly, in my opinion, the Hurricanes kicked 20 times from hand, compared to the Lions' 10 (the lowest of all 14 teams last weekend), and went on to win the game comfortably in the end. 

What the above stats reveal is that the Lions’ scrumhalf, flyhalf and fullback failed to control the game. They didn't kick enough behind the opposition to try and gain territory, and force them into making mistakes. They overplayed their hand in terms of a run-pass game. Going forward, Johan Ackermann’s men need to play less phase rugby inside their half and devise a better kicking strategy.

Click here to read the rest of Mitchell's column in which he also analyses the Bulls, Cheetahs, Sharks and Stormers

Photo: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images