Pro Rugby Stats: Game Analysis, Predictions

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GREENWICH, CTOhio made a statement to the rest of PRO Rugby this past weekend with its thrashing of San Francisco and Denver took care of Sacramento. Let’s take a look under the hood at the PRO Rugby Stats. But first check out our handy-dandy 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 Aviators made history by breaking its own previous record for most points in a Pro Rugby game (55) with 71 while only had 20. played in its own typical style by working the ball to the outside and letting the dangerous wing duo of Aaron “Spike” Davis and Alex Elkins finish it off. In fact, by looking at the scoring graph you’ll realize that all of Ohio’s 11 tries originated from within 15 meters from the touchline. Statistically the most impressive thing did this game was its 79% RPA which is the highest in the league the past 5 weeks. It seemed like if Ohio got it within the 22meter line, they were guaranteed to score. Even when the substitutions came in, the Aviator’s offensive wouldn’t relent 9 different players scored on the day. Ohio also had an impressive 19 attacking plays which highlight’s its domination of the San Francisco defense. Defensively, Ohio’s was impenetrable. Despite a DHA of 33%, it only let the Rush inside its 22 meter line 3 occasions the whole game so that former stat doesn’t tell the story of the game.
For San Francisco, it was a long day. Despite having possession for 40% of the game, it was unable to do anything with the ball until it was too late. Its defense just couldn’t hold the bombardment the Aviators released and as a result had a 14% DHA. It’s hard to stay competitive when you only get inside the red zone 3 times in the whole With the ball in hand, the Rush only had 4 attacking plays which is not enough to pose a threat on offense. San Francisco was only able to get 2 offloads this game, in contrast to the 11 it had had five weeks ago when beat Ohio.

In Denver, Sacramento was able to play a competitive game against Denver who last week sat at the top team of the league standings. The Stampede’s numbers looked solid this week. It had possession for 69% of the match, had a penalty differential of +4 and a turnover differential of +3. Those stats reveal how Denver was able to retain the ball most of the game and were locked in mentally. As a result, the Stamped had a RPA of 56%. Using the power of its forwards, like 19yearold, USA Eagle Hanco Germishuys and former South African Springbok Pedrie Wannenburg who had two tires on the day, Denver was able to be very effective in the red zone. On defense, the Stampede played very well and only let the Express into the red zone 4 times.

Sacramento was coming of a three-week break, and as a result, their game at times seemed a bit rusty. They trailed in the penalty and turnover differential by -4 and -3 respectively. On attack, they seemed to make turnovers just before they could get inside of the 22 meter line. In fact, they only crossed that line 4 times the whole game, however once they were there they had a RPA of 50%. Part of the Express’s failure to be a threat on offense was because they didn’t have the ball, they only had possession for 31% of the match. Defensively they played fairly well with a DHA of 44%, but what hurt Sacramento in the end was that it was unable to finish off plays and turned over the ball too much. When the clock hit 80 the final score was 29-13 in favor of the Stampede.
Next, Sacramento will play local rivals San Francisco in the Bay Area. This will be a match-up of the two bottom teams in the standings and I’ll put my money on the higher ranked Rush. I don’t think that San Francisco’s record reflects the type of team it is now later in the season. Before losing to this week, it had won its last two games and showed a lot of potential in week seven when it beat Ohio by using the offloads and quick ball. This week the Rush had a RPA of 67% but only got in the red zone three times. Against a team like Sacramento, the Rush will be able to get inside the 22-meter line more often and be more of a threat on offense.

The second game this week will be San Diego at Ohio. The Aviators have been playing exceptionally recently and it has won its last three matches by an average of 32 point (including top ranked Denver). Now the Aviators sit atop the league standings of PRO Rugby. San Diego is on a three game losing steak and the momentum of Ohio is way too much to ignore so I call that Ohio will comfortably get by San Diego.

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About Luke Bienstock 30 Articles
Luke Bienstock hails from Greenwich, CT and now studies and plays rugby at Dartmouth College. While at Greenwich High School, he became a rugby fanatic and developed a passion for cinematography which he now brings to Rugby Wrap Up.