The second week of action during the 2012 Super Rugby season saw more attack coming from teams as they clearly continued to adjust to referee interpretations, while across the board we saw significant improvement in our monitoring of our ‘Big 5’ priorities.  More importantly we saw any side mounting offence is half as likely to be penalised as the defending outfit.

Most exciting, according to SANZAR Game Manager Lyndon Bray, was that the percentage of first scrum hit success was outstanding.

Once again, the Big 5 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 per game
Turnovers at Tackle: aim - 90% accuracy by player & referee

After some felt that rugby had become too defensive orientated, Bray and SANZAR continue to look at innovations to ensure that attack is king!

“Did you know that to date, in 14 games, the defending team is being penalised at a rate of 2-1 over the attacking team?” Bray pointed out.

“The reason why many in the game would say this is a good thing, is that ultimately you want attack to be favoured over defence.”

As for suggestions that this season is showcasing less attack than last year, Bray said the proof was in the numbers.

“After two weeks of Super Rugby, we have seen 50 tries.  This is the same as at the same time in 2011,” he said.

“We have seen 109 successful penalty kicks at goal (at the same time in 2011 it sat at 73).”

“Teams seem to be wanting to take the points more so than last year.  This is backed up by the fact that the average penalty kick counts are not much different to early stages of 2011.”

However the real progress was with the scrum engagements, with Bray pointing out two fixtures during week two were near perfect with the scrum completion, while the average percentage of first hit completion is improving with each week.

“Super Rugby wants to see 70% of scrums completed successfully (2011 average was 45%),” he said. 

“In week 2, 2 games averaged 90% or better!  The average over the weekend was above 60%.  Hallelujah.”

“At this stage, it would be fair to say that both the teams and the referees are working hard to deliver on the outcomes expected of them and the early signs are encouraging.”