GREENWICH, CT – In the last PRO Rugby round, Ohio continued its dominance to extend its four-game winning streak and Sacramento recorded its second and biggest win of the season. Let’s break down the matches by the numbers. But first check out our handy-dandy PRO Rugby Stats Glossary:
- Average Penalty Points (APP) – Number of times points are scored off of penalties in the attacking half of the field divided by total penalties awarded in attacking side
- Defensive Hold Average (DHA) – Number of times a team repels its opponent within it’s own 22 meter divided by the number of times opponent enters within 22 meter line.
- Red Zone Point Average (RPA) – Number of times a team gets points when it goes inside the 22 meter line divided by the number of time that team is inside the 22 meter line.
- Attacking Plays – Offloads plus line breaks plus runs >20 meters plus plays of >50 meters
- Penalty Difference – Penalties awarded divided by penalties conceded
- Turnovers – Times the ball changes possession not including penalties. Ex. counter ruck, interception, stolen lineout, etc.
The first match of the weekend saw the Express match up against the Rush in a battle for Sacramento to try to claw itself out of the bottom spot in the standings. Sacramento got out to an early 26-0 lead thanks to some sloppy play by San Francisco. The most notable statistic for the Express was the turnover differential at +18. When threatening on attack, Sacramento had a 71% RPA and was nearly perfect until the end of the game. Also impressive is the Express’s defense. It stole three lineouts and two scrums from the Rush and had a 73% DHA. This allowed the team to hold back San Francisco and turn defensive situations into potential attacking ones. While the Express had a -2 penalty differential, it was able to make the most of the penalties given to them with a 57% APP.
San Francisco was not able to retain possession of the ball this game. It only won 50% of its lineouts. It had a few opportunities in the beginning and end of the match to score which might have changed the result, but unfortunately the Rush could not capitalize in the red zone with its 27% RPA. However, towards the end of the first half San Francisco did look like it was back in the game by scoring 19 unanswered points to go into the half only down by 7. That momentum was lost at the kickoff and the Rush went back to its old ways. Even maintaining possession of the ball for 67% of the game did not make the difference because San Francisco was unable to capitalize this match. The final score was 43-19 Sacramento.
In Obetz, the Aviators continued to soar with another strong performance over the Breakers. Ohio played very efficient rugby on the day and made few errors. 17 attacking plays and a turnover differential of +4 helped get the Aviator’s offense going and once it was in the red zone it had a 58% RPA. It was also able to exploit San Diego’s penalties with a 42% APP. Defensively it was not as solid as it has been in past weeks with a 57% DHA slightly higher than it has been the past three weeks, but it was enough to take care of business. This week was more diverse in its scoring with 4 of its tries coming from forwards (Riekert Hattingh, Sebastian Kalm, and Dylan Fawsitt with two) and 2 from the backs (both by usual try scorer Spike Davis). Ohio ended up with 44 points to San Diego’s 21.
San Diego had issues maintaining possession just like San Francisco this week. It had a -4 penalty differential and only won 50% of its lineouts and 75% of its scrums. Despite having a +4 penalty differential, the Breakers were not able to capitalize on the penalties conceded to it with only a 13% APP. In order to be more of a threat on offense, San Diego needed to take advantage of the few mistakes Ohio gave them. On offense, the Breakers were just not able to spark its attack with only 6 attacking plays. I believe that not having Taku Ngwenya is partly to blame for the weak offense and his loss is apparent.
In the upcoming round, the winners Aviators and Express face off in Sacramento. While statistically speaking Sacramento played better, Ohio faced a tougher San Diego side and remains the top team in the league. I also believe that an average of 20 attacking plays per game and an efficient 65% RPA is what makes Ohio able to rack up an average of 55 points per game the last four weeks. My bet is on the Aviators.
San Diego takes on Denver up in the Rockies on Sunday. Denver now sits in second in the league standings because of points despite having a better record. I expect the Stampede to come out looking to get the bonus points and take it to San Diego who is currently on a four game losing streak. I’m taking Denver on this one.
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