Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
2 minute read
2 Aug 2014
9:00 am

Super Rugby: Two men who could make all the difference

Rudolph Jacobs

In a Super Rugby final where such small margins are at play, big Crusaders wing Nemani Nadolo and Waratahs' game-breaking fullback Israel Folau could hold the biggest key in Sydney today.

FILE PICTURE: Israel Folau of the Waratahs. Picture: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images.

Just taking a brief look at vital statistics it’s no small wonder why they are both expected to play a demanding role today.

Stats released by Sanzar in conjunction with Opta Sports revealed that both Nadolo and Folau have accrued 50 defenders beaten this year. Only two others can better this.

Significantly, Folau has scored the most tries this year (12), with Nadolo the only other player to hit double figures with 11 in 13 appearances.

Folau, however, has made at least 21 more offloads (47) than any other player this season, but Nadolo leads the way for clean breaks with 26, with Folau on 25 and Adam Ashley-Cooper on 21.

Of players to play more than 10 games this season, Nadolo has the best average gain per carry (9.97m), but Kurtley Beale (225) and Israel Dagg (201) are the only men to make 200+ carries this season.

Beale has had a direct hand (score/assist) in 18 tries this season (8 tries, 10 assists), more than anybody else.

This will be the first time these sides have met this year, but since the inauguration of Super 14 in 2006, the Crusaders have won all nine meetings between these trans-Tasman rivals.

Info:

• Only the Waratahs (29.8) have a better points per game average than the Crusaders (28.4) this year.

• Indeed, the Waratahs have averaged fewer points conceded (16.5) than any other side, with the Crusaders boasting the second best defence (19.3 points conceded per game).

• The Crusaders have scored more first phase tries (25) than any other side this year and nine more than the Sydney side.

• 13 of the 58 tries the Waratahs have scored this season have originated from turnovers, more than any other side in the competition.

• Since the original inauguration of Super Rugby in 1996 the Crusaders have lifted the title seven times, no other side has won it more than three times and the Waratahs have never won it.

• While the Waratahs top the charts for offloads, opponents of the Crusaders have produced fewer per game (8) than any other side.

• Opponents of the Waratahs have won more turnovers (9.6) than against any other team.

• The NSW side continue to top the charts for average tries, carries, metres, passes, breaks and offloads and they have also missed the fewest number of tackles this year, an average of 14.1 per week.

• The Crusaders have averaged the most lineout steals (2.4) per game this year, with their opponents’ success rate of 78% being the lowest in the competition.

• The Crusaders’ opponents have an average scrum success rate of 76%, the second lowest in the competition after the Sharks.

• The Waratahs have a minus points difference (-13) in the second quarter of games this season, while the Crusaders’ is positive in all four segments.

• The Tahs have scored 15 tries in the opening quarter of matches this season, more than any other side. The Crusaders have managed just six in the same time frame.

• The Waratahs have conceded fewer first quarter (4) and last quarter (5) tries than any other side.