Currie Cup semi-final stats that caught the eye

The Currie Cup semi-final stats make for a great read, revealing a speedy, efficient Cheetahs defence, and a Bulls offloading game that would not be out of place in New Zealand.

Tank Lanning

A hat-trick by Sergeal Petersen and a 21 points from Niel Marais saw the Cheetahs into their first Currie Cup home Final since 2007 as they over powered the Golden Lions 55-17 in Bloemfontein.

They will face the Vodacom Blue Bulls, who beat Western Province 36-30 in an epic, see-saw, semi-final at Loftus Versfeld compliments of a flawless kicking display by Tiaan Schoeman.

Next Saturday’s Currie Cup Final will see these two sides face off in a final for the first time since 2009. Prior to that, though, a gander at the stand out stats from both semi-finals, stats that both sets of coaches will no doubt also be poring over.

Cheetahs vs Lions:

Tries: CHE 6-3 LIO

Possession: CHE 40% – 60% LIO

Territory: CHE 48% – 52% LIO

Carries: CHE 2-19 LIO

Defenders beaten: CHE 11-5 LIO

Metres run: CHE 16-94 LIO

Offloads: CHE 15-8 LIO

Tackles made: CHE 166-168 LIO

Tackles missed: CHE 21-32 LIO

Kicks from hand: CHE 16-6 LIO

Two carries! Sixteen carries! Six tries! Yes, we have queried those stats, but they do still tell a story about a game that many people saw the visitors having a chance of winning. With 60% possession and many more metres run and carries made, did the Lions try to play too much rugby? The visitors only kicked 6 times from hand (to the 16 from the Cheetahs), and with flyhalf Jaco van der Walt struggling not only to get his backline away, but also in the decision making, in the face of a speedy, ferocious Cheetahs defence, the Lions were shut down at source. Missing 11 tackles less, the Cheetahs forced the Lions into making errors, on which they thrived. Beating 6 more defenders, and making 7 more offloads, the Cheetahs attacking game came into their own – In the right areas of the field. Cheetahs with an organised and efficient defence! Who would have thought?


Blue Bulls vs Western Province:

Tries: BB 3-3 WP

Possession: BB 54% – 46% WP

Territory: BB 54% – 46% WP

Carries: BB 117-78 WP

Metres run: BB 680-552 WP

Offloads: BB 9-2 WP

Passes: BB 145-99 WP

Turnovers won: BB 10-5 WP

Tackles made: BB 116-227 WP

Tackles missed: BB 9-26 WP

Kicks from hand: BB 16-15 WP

Despite WP somehow managing to stay in touch on the scoreboard, it would be very difficult to suggest that the home side did not deserve to win this encounter. Up in both the territory and possession, the Bulls played all the rugby in this game. Not always a good thing – as experienced by the Lions in Bloemfontein, but it was their offloading in the tackle – 9 to the 2 from the visitors – that set them apart on the night. Guts and tenacity kept WP in the game, but having been forced to make 227 tackles, the dam wall always seemed set to crack. And crack it did in the 78th minute when lively reserve scrumhalf Van Zyl dotted down. The Bulls only missed 9 tackles on the night, but it was the ten steals that hurt WP badly. Roelof Smit, as an out and out fetcher, was a menace at the breakdown, and WP will rue going into the game without a looseforward to counter him.

CLICK HERE for the match stats from the Cheetahs vs Lions game.

CLICK HERE for the match stats from the Blue Bulls vs WP game.

CLICK HERE for in depth stats from the entire Currie Cup tournament.