TN8 Statistics: Wallabies v Springboks - Green and Gold Rugby

TN8 Statistics: Wallabies v Springboks

TN8 Statistics: Wallabies v Springboks

What a game! Absolute dominance by the Wallabies in the majority of the first half and then it all turned around with the Springboks taking control for most of the second half until the Wallabies found a way to come back.

Whilst I’ve seen comments that both sides played very poorly in the period of the game that the other side was dominating, that’s not how I saw it when reviewing the game last night. I’d actually put that down as one of the best games I’ve seen since the 2003 World Cup final but I don’t share the view that this was the best game ever played.

In the first 38 minutes of the first half the Wallabies were white hot and the Springboks were just hanging on but they had their moments as well in the first half.

What changed the game was the free kick against James Slipper for collapsing the scrum in the 38th minute. That scrum was the result of the penalty against Johan Pietersen and Jannie du Plessis for infringing at the ruck and given it’s proximity to the goal line, they were lucky that neither got a yellow card. At the time the Wallabies had been hard on attack and given the way they were playing, had they won that scrum, I think they would have scored and that could have blown the game open but the decision went against them and not long after the Wallabies went to sleep and let Victor Matfield run riot.  The ruck defence of Mark Chisolm and Nathan Sharpe when Matfield broke away was really poor but if you look at the previous couple of rucks it wasn’t much better.  It looked like the Wallabies switched off for those last couple of minutes.

How quickly things can change in a game and the Springboks came out and played magnificently after halftime. The waves of Springbok runners were relentless. Despite the fact that the Springboks scored 30 unanswered points in the period when they were white hot, the Wallabies only missed 10 tackles in the second half and their defence was really strong. A couple of lapses in concentration in possession were what cost the Wallabies in this period, not their defence.

Then the match turned again, with Saia Faingaa deservedly sent to the sin bin, which forced the Wallabies to dig deeper to find some character that I seriously doubted this group had.

The statistics show that the Springboks had 63% of possession in the game – 56% in the first half and 69% in the second half. This meant the Wallabies were faced with a massive 217 tackles compared to only 103 for the Springboks. What kept the Wallabies in the game was that they made 90% of their tackles compared to only 74% for the Springboks. Even with Quade Cooper missing 6 out of the Wallabies 22 missed tackles, it was a good defensive effort against the number three team in the world! Interestingly the Wallabies second half tackle success rate was better at 91% than their first half at 89%.

The Wallabies showed more flair in attack than they have all year and even ran a back line move! The passing was generally very good and their ball retention was much better. The Wallabies only gave up 26% of their possession in the game and the Springboks did even better only giving up 23%.

The difference was that the Wallabies gave up their possession through some poor passes or dropped ball whereas the Springboks gave up most of their possession through turnovers at the breakdown. There’s no prize for guessing who caused most of that damage for the Springboks – David Pocock was outstanding again and his work rate is unbelievable. I bet he’s looking forward to a rest after this weekend’s game.

I thought Rocky Elsom and Matt Giteau had their best games of the year – it’s great to see them running the ball again.

Benn Robinson, Stephen Moore and James Slipper were good with Nathan Sharpe having another excellent game. Ben McCalman made a good run on debut and Richard Brown looked much better as a replacement than as a starter. I didn’t think that Mark Chisolm, Salesi Ma’afu, Dean Mumm or Saia Faingaa pulled their weight.

Will Genia had a good game and was the catalyst for lots of the good things the Wallabies did in attack. Luke Burgess was also really good when he came on and I hope Deans keeps bringing him into the game as Genia tires in the second half of games.

Some of the passes Quade Cooper threw were amazing and it was pleasing to see him controlling the game with some deft kicks in the first half but someone’s got to fix his defence.

Drew Mitchell, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Berrick Barnes were good. James O’Connor is improving rapidly each week and even those of us who have voiced a preference for a specialist winger must be close to acknowledging that he really adds something to the team – I’d be happy to see him hold that position given his current form.  Kurtley Beale had a mixed game but his mental strength to overcome a poor second half and land that kick mean that it will be remembered as a good game for him. He certainly offers lots in attack but his defence and how he handles the high ball continue to concern me.

I’m looking forward to seeing whether the Wallabies can replicate their effort against the All Blacks.

Click on the relevant icon below to download the Team Statistics or the Player Statistics.





  • suckerforred

    Trying not to put the mockas on him – but I thnk that Pocock has the potiential to become one of our best all time players. Now he just needs to learn how to be invisible like Sir Ritchie.

    Great breakdown Austin.

  • RugbyReg

    Gee Sharpie’s 10 dominant tackles out of 18 tackles made is damn impressive. AAC’s 5 from 13 out wide is excellent too.

  • Newb

    i think it’s interesting that lots are saying this was rocky’s best game on the 3N’s so far. i think that might be the right call as he put in a TON of work in the tackles and still got some runs in (10), along with his try.

    if you recall though, he got a 7 rating this game, but a 9 for the brisvegas bok test. he missed a lot more tackles in that test but made more runs and had some line breaks.

    perhaps the flash of brissy was a little too blinding. i like his tighter game and hope he sticks to it.

  • Pedro

    I thought aac showed real leadership in 13, especialy defensively and the stats agree. I think he’s the obvious long term 13 now, no matter what your opinion of him at 15 is, no one has defended that well and agressively at 13 since morty.

    • suckerforred

      Good point – but who would you put into 15? Long term is Beale’s denfensive game up to being there?

      • Gumby

        Personally I’m more worried about Coopers defence. Beale isn’t as bad as he is.

      • Who?

        Beale’s defense is improving, his fitness has improved significantly, he just needs to work on catching the high ball.

      • Pedro

        I would stick with Beale while he’s playing with confidence, it’s just such an advantage to have him play in the same team as Quooper. If he can’t adjust to the aerial tactics (although I’m sure it’s just a blip) then at least the experience has done him well as a life on the bench as the back up 5/8th/winger/12?. There are plenty of quality players that want to play 15 going around, long term I don’t know, but you would definetly give Mitchell, Hynes and even JO’C a go.

    • Seb V

      AAC at 13 was a worry for me as he lacks distribution skills. But i think he’s improving, and i love his defensive work. Im now on the AAC at 13 bandwagon. Hynes or Shepard for fullback if your worried about the high ball, beale is risky but he’s improving.

  • dave

    You didn’t credit Saia Faingaa with his tackle. He did complete it after all.

    • Austin

      Did actually give that one a bit of thought

      In the end decided to apply the same philosophy I applied to Quade’s tackle that got him suspended in TN3 – it should be a legal completion of the tackle to be credited, which neither were, so neither were credited.

      • Dogman

        So how do you apply credit or otherwise to Quade’s preferred “piggy front” tackles – it’s like a piggy back, only he climbs up their front and enjoys the ride?

        • Groucho

          It will dominate Saia’s next two weeks.

      • Who?

        Bit harsh to complain Saia didn’t carry his weight. He mightn’t have carried his weight (well, not for long), but he clearly carried someone else’s weight! :-P

    • chequebalance

      It was dominant too!

    • Ham

      It was quite dominant.

      • chequebalance

        A little too dominant.

        • Joe Blow

          especially the second attempt

  • dave

    Although it’s only a small difference in numbers between the sides it shows retaining possession from the line-out goes a long way to explaining the success of a team no matter what greenwood says about the set piece.
    After all the modern game is all about possession. If you can retain the ball you can generally control the game. And line-outs are an integral part of retaining possession.
    And Sharpie sured up our line-out and played his heart out in general play. And his dominant tackle count is huge. Close to man of the match for mine.

    • Garry

      As good as Sharpie is, we need other options. He’s an old fella, carrying a lot of the packs’ workload, and if he gets injured (touch wood), he’ll be out for a while to recover.

      Who else?

    • Who?

      I completely agree we need more options than just Sharpie – after all, he’s admitted that was his last Test at altitude, he’s admitted he’s got maybe a year left.

      But it’s worth noting that, for the first time this 3Ns, Deans didn’t sub his best lock, and we won.

      • Garry

        Perhaps Robbie is beginning to play what was in front of him.


      • Joe Blow

        We have Horwill returning from injury and Vickerman signed through 2012.
        Douglas, Simmons, Hand and co coming through the ranks and Kimlin also back in the club ranks after a long injury lay-off.
        We will be OK in the second row come the EOYT and next year and beyond.

        Sharpe is playing some great rugby and it would be a shame if he retired anytime soon.

  • Garry


    I missed the first half. Was there any noticeable correlation between faster ruck ball and the success of our attack?

    • chequebalance

      Not as noticable as the correlation of errors and the non-success of our attack in the 2nd half.

  • Who?

    JP was sooooo lucky not to be sent at that second penalty… It was his second consecutive penalty, the first one was for in the side and also knocking the ball into touch, and the second was for in the side, and he managed to get away with walking away with the ball then kicking dead! How that wasn’t a card, I don’t know. Especially in the context of reffing decisions in the first half of the 3Ns.

    I thought it was Rocky’s best game of the year. But I don’t know that Gits’ performance was better than his game in Brisbane. It was a very good performance, but Brisbane… He had the defense at 6’s and 7’s there.

    Our defense beside the ruck was terrible all night. It was just a surprise that Matfield and the Boks in general exploited it to that extent the once. There was always a gap next to the ruck. It’s something we need to fix before this weekend.

  • The Rant

    both de villiers and whatshisname huge prop scored their tries by running through our new number 8 – that’s just not going to fly from someone brought in to bring size and aggression! Though he had a good night for a run-on debut.

    I’m ok with AAC to stay 13 and hynes to come back at fullback when fit. He’s a good link man and we just need a solid custodian who can steady the ship a bit.

    Looking forward to Turner getting a run this weekend as well – deserves one after the S14 season he had.

    • Thomas

      Yeah agreed on Turner. He should’ve been played many tests ago.

  • NTA

    I just wanted to take a moment to say: JP Pietersen is a little bitch. What a bunch of fucking carry-on by a complete idiot.



Scott is one of our regular contributors from the old days of G&GR. He has experience coaching Premier Grade with two clubs in Brisbane.

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