The starting point for more tries than any other source this campaign, the lineout is the crux around which a Super Rugby attack is built and in 2017 there is already a clear cut strategy from teams to ensure they retain possession as often as possible from the throw.
The Rebels have opted to take the safest route and throw to the front of the lineout more often than any other team in the competition. The Melbourne side have thrown 44.2% of their throws to the front in an attempt to retain possession, but what is clear is that it hasn’t worked quite as effectively as it has for other teams in the competition.
The Rebels have won just 68.4% of lineouts to the front this season, the least of any team in the competition, perhaps showing that opposition jumpers have worked out their game plan. Discarding the Highlanders, who have thrown just two of their 50 lineouts to the front, no other team in the competition has a lineout success rate below 80% when pitching to the front of the line.
No more than one team from each region has made the decision to focus more than 40% of their lineout throws to the front, with the Stormers, Sunwolves, and Hurricanes joining the Rebels in that echelon.
The mid-point of the line is the most popular spot for lineouts overall, but no team has opted for the median more often than the Jaguares this season. The Argentine squad have thrown 35 of their 60 total throws to the middle, and enjoyed a success rate of nearly 83% in doing so. The Bulls are the only team yet to lose a throw when pitching to the middle, an impressive feat given they’ve done so 22 times already this season.
Highlighted by the earlier mentioned fact that the Highlanders have made just two throws to the front this season, the Dunedin side has made a high proportion of their throws to the back. No team has made a higher percentage in fact, though it is New Zealand counterparts the Chiefs and the Blues who poll in as the second and third highest ranked teams. The Hurricanes are the only squad in the competition yet to lose a lineout when opting to launch to the back of the line, though they have made only seven attempts thus far.
Overall, it’s the Chiefs who lead the way with a lineout success rate of 94% from all throws so far this season, though the Crusaders and Brumbies (both on 93%) are right on their tails.