As we reach the end of the pool play, with every home team seeking a win to stay in the race for the Finals, the statistics tell us some interesting stories.

In terms of tries scored, the Hurricanes head the try scoring tally, with 55 tries, with the Bulls next on 46.  The second placed team in the competition, the Stormers, have only crossed the line on 26 occasions!

However, when you look at teams defending, the Stormers have quite incredibly only conceded 18 tries to date, with the next best team being 31.  The Rebels lead the competition with the fact that they have conceded 57 tries in this year's competition!

In terms of penalty kicks at goal, the Crusaders and Stormers have amassed the most points with 52 and 51 respectively.

When you look at when teams 'concede points', once again the Stormers come up trumps, at being the best team at 'holding on to a lead' in the last quarter, yielding the least amount of points at the finish of a match.  The Brumbies also have a proud last quarter record and score most of their points in that critical last quarter.

The Bulls score the vast majority of their points in the second quarter of the first half, and the last quarter of the match, demonstrating an ability to absorb the opposition pressure and then turn that around into their own pressure and points.

The Chiefs, as the top of the table team, have the most "clean breaks" of any team in the competition, with 9.7 average breaks per game and have amassed a total of 44 tries, combined with their 43 successful penalty kicks at goal.  Interestingly, the Stormers only have an average of 3.5 clean breaks per game!

So, the stats certainly paint an important picture and conclusion, which is important in our great game of rugby: there is more than one way to win!

When you compare the Chiefs and the Stormers, as two of the more successful teams, the Chiefs have reached their top position by virtue of their ability to attack incisively and score close to the best number of tries in the competition, while the Stormers have built their successful campaign on the indisputably best defensive record in the competition.

Many rugby fans would consider that the Bulls have traditionally been a "10 man kicking machine" - well, they have well and truly proven their capacity to score tries and have adapted their game plan over the last couple of years, to incorporate a physical forward pack and 'big defence', with an ability to counter attack and score tries.

In terms of how the shape of our competition is looking, the referees have also played their part in the fascinating spectacles we are witnessing.  The aims of our competition: improved scrums, clean ball at set piece and quick ball at the tackle, and space for players to attack, has largely been achieved while only averaging 19 penalty kicks per game.  At the same time, we have seen the Ball In Play Time average just under 35 minutes per match: which compares favourably with any professional competition and is an increase on last year.

The scrums have been a big "work on" in 2012, and the competition average of "successfully completed scrums" is 60% (up from 45% in 2011).  The ball at the tackle continues to be recycled within 3 seconds, 70% of the time (which from a coaching perspective is the general aim of each team).

Kicks in play are down to 41 per game average (remember that just 3 years ago, Super Rugby teams kicked the ball on average 72 times per game!).  This statistic remains lower when we combine space for the players to attack from kicks in general play, and confidence that the team carrying the ball can go into the tackle without being overly scared of losing possession (being penalised).  In 2012, the defending team is penalised at a rate of 2-1 over the attacking team, which helps provide the right balance of continuity in our game.

The statistics suggest that players on the fringe of the ruck who are offside and not ruled on by the referee are around 3.2 times a game: our aim was to keep this under 5 per game.  This gives half backs the confidence to snipe around the edges and provides the necessary space for the short pass to a rampaging forward.

All in all, the statistics support a pretty good year in Super Rugby, and the competition could not be tighter going into the last round - best wishes to all those teams still in the hunt!