GREENWICH, CT – Last weekend Denver took care of Sacramento, 59-13, to get within 1 point of Ohio’s top spot in the league standings. In San Francisco, the hometown Rush were able to dispose of the visiting Breakers, 50-26. 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.
San Francisco was firing on all cylinders against San Diego. The Rush was playing efficiently with a 38% APP and 50% RPA. What stood out to me was San Francisco’s offloads, of which it had 10. They sparked the offense by continuing the play and opening up opportunities for San Francisco to have a total of 20 attacking plays. Scrum-half Devereaux Ferris stood out for his ability to keep the keep the defense on its back foot and his nifty two tries. The Rush were also effective on defense with a 50% DHA and on top of that had a penalty difference of +8 of the match. The numbers speak for themselves.
On the other side, San Diego just couldn’t get things going. Despite having decent RPA and DHA 50% and 44% respectively, the Breakers only got within the red zone half the number of times that the Rush did (8 compared to 16). With fewer opportunities to score, sloppier play (a -8 penalty difference), and ball possession of only 47% of the match, San Diego wasn’t helping themselves out this match. Taku Ngwenya finally came back from his concussion, and at times was able to help advance the ball down the field, but he was not able to change the tide for the Breakers. The match ended 50-26 in favor of the Rush.
Denver came into the match against Sacramento looking to get the bonus point in order to make a move against Ohio and they came out with that goal accomplished. The Stampede’s stats were off the charts and they played about as efficiently as you can. It was a team effort with 8 different players scoring tries. On attack, Denver put up an amazing 55% APP and 80% RPA. Practically every time the Stampede was threatening to score you knew they were going to touch the ball down. Surprisingly, Denver had a -1 penalty and turnover differential but that didn’t get in its way at all. However, what did get in the way was the Stampede’s defense which blocked the Express from the try zone with its 86% DHA. On top of that Denver had 23 attacking plays, 7 of which were line breaks and 8 offloads.
Denver was just too much for Sacramento. Even when the Express go into the redzone, it only had a 29% RPA which is its lowest by 16% in the last four weeks. The offense was not a threat this match with only 12 attacking plays including only 2 runs of >20 meters. However, as previously mentioned, Sacramento played better in terms of penalties and turnovers. Numbers like those and also a 60% DHA lead me to believe that it wasn’t that the Express played poorly or sloppy, but rather that Denver played exceptionally well if you know what I mean. Despite giving Sacramento more opportunities to exploit its mistakes, the Stampede made up for it with its defense and it’s attack was the final nail in the coffin. The final score was 59-13.
In this inaugural season’s second-to last weekend, San Diego goes north to take on Sacramento. The Breakers are on a six game losing steak but I believe that they’ll be able to turn it around and get back to winning. I expect Mikey Te’o and Taku Ngwenya to play a big role in the match. The Rush will host the Stampede and based off last weekend’s performance, I like Denver because – like I said: “The numbers speak for themselves.”
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