The Big 5 priorities have once against been summarised after ten weeks of Super Rugby, and the indication is that the shape of the game looks sound according to SANZAR Game Manager Lyndon Bray.

Maintaining the momentum around agreed scrum outcomes and keeping the time and space around the field ensures that we maintain a focus on attack.

SANZAR’s Game Outcome Priorities are:

Tackle: aim - 70% ball available within 3 seconds
Scrum: aim - 70% of scrums completed on the first hit
Ball in Play: aim - 35-40 minutes per game
Offside at Ruck: aim - less than 5 missed per game by referee
Kicks In Play – less than 45 kicks per game

“The most important thing is that we are close to achieving most of our goals and maintaining our performance benchmarks, and that the referees have been consistent in ensuring that we keep the momentum,” Bray said.

“We are tracking at approximately 35 minutes ball in play, the ball is being cleared from the ruck within three seconds 70% of the time, while missed off-side at the ruck offences are placed at four per game – all within our targets set prior to season commencement.”

“Just over 60% of scrums are completed within the first hit, and while this is below our ideal number, it has been consistently maintained over the last month.”

“It is still a significant jump on the 2011 first hit average of 45%.”

With a focus on tidying up the breakdown and keeping a sontest at the tackle, Bray said that it was important that team’s positive mindsets on attack had not diminished.

“Initially there was some fear that teams would be unwilling to attack,” Bray said.

“This extended to fear there would be more penalties, fear that tries would be down, and the game would become more influenced by the referee.”

“We feel that the tackle area has become more contestable, giving advantages to attacking as well as defending sides.”

“In essence, the tackle area has settled down nicely.”

“Some teams have chosen to kick more, from a technical perspective, and we are seeing some improvement in kicking ‘for a contest’ which is easier for us to watch.”

“It is important to maintain the contest, and areas such as players leaving their feet and attacking teams sealing off the ball have seen improvement over the week,” he said.

Bray said a large part of this was due to the continued and widespread co-operation between referees, coaches, players and the administrators.

“As a team we have been working hard to ensure that the game we want to play is what we see, and continued communication with the franchises, as well as our refereeing team, is enabling us to remain on the same page.”

However there needed to be continued improved performance by the referees while ensuring that the priorities continued to track at a level set before the 2012 Super Rugby season commenced.

“While consistency is being maintained, we wish to see continued improvement in achieving our Game Measures.”

“Each week we carefully dissect each performance, and part of this process is ensuring that each referee is accountable for their decisions in the middle.”

Ten weeks done and dusted!

Penalties awarded 19.5, an improvement from roughly 21 per match early in the season

Ball in play 35 minutes, bang on benchmark

Scrum 60%, still shy of our goal, but holding as the season progresses

Three second ball clear 70%, achieving our goal

Off side at ruck, only four4 per game not ruled, one below are mark of five

Average kicks in play 41 per game