Chiefs lethal with limited possession
August 1, 2013
Greg Growden and Russell Barwick preview the decider
The Brumbies must retain the ball and scramble in defence like never before this season if they are to win the Super Rugby final in Hamilton, with the Chiefs a proven punisher of teams that cough up possession having scored more tries and points than any other team in the competition this season despite having the least amount of possession.
But the Brumbies have the competition's highest percentage rate when it comes to retaining the ball at ruck time (96%), a statistic that indicates a cracking battle.
The Chiefs averaged the second-most tackles in the competition, and held the ball for just 13:53 minutes per game - at least three minutes less than six other teams - Opta Sports statistics show. While that latter stat is by far the lowest in the competition, it appears to be a case of less is more for the Hamilton-based side as they lead the competition for clean breaks (9.3) and tries (3.1) per fixture; that's one try for every four and a half minutes the Chiefs have the pill in hand.
The Chiefs' opportunistic attack was on full display in their semi-final win against the Crusaders at Waikato Stadium, where Lelia Masaga burrowed his way over three defenders for the opening try and fly-half Aaron Cruden sniffed out an intercept from a stuttered Crusaders play to score the team's second try.
"They've definitely got a lot of threats out wide, especially with Cruden's ability to get the ball to them," Brumbies fullback Jesse Mogg said of the Chiefs, for whom Masaga and injured centre Tim Nanai-Williams have made the most metres per carry in Super Rugby this season.
Mogg and his fellow Brumbies kickers will no doubt be aiming to put their kicks deep into touch, to avoid the counter-attacking skills of Masaga and co, but also to give the Brumbies forwards a crack at the Chiefs' lineout.
The Chiefs have the least successful lineout in the competition, managing to win just 78 per cent of their throws.
The Brumbies on the other hand boast the competition's leading lineout thief in captain Ben Mowen.
Follow live text commentary of the Super Rugby Final between the Chiefs and the Brumbies on Saturday, August 3, from 7pm (NZT), 5pm (EST), 7am (GMT)
New Zealand's Super Rugby franchises launch their jumpers with a spectacular display of giant jerseys across the country to mark the first day of replica sales
Australia's rugby fans will be asked to suggest law changes for trial use in the 2014 National Rugby Championship
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has confirmed his club will use a contentious 'blood-spinning' technique in a bid to hasten the return of defender Jan Vertonghen from injury
Borussia Dortmund advanced to the last 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday night as Group F winners after a dramatic 2-1 victory at pointless, 10-man Marseille
Arsenal qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League in second place after suffering a 2-0 defeat to Napoli, as Borussia Dortmund secured a late victory away to Marseille