Attacking and defensive statistics in your favour, world class players and arguably a world class coaching staff. Following their loss to the Highlanders this evening, the Blues will be asking themselves serious questions. But one that will come up is what is going wrong? Execution will be the only answer they will feel will be the answer. The Blues have been playing most of the rugby in the games that they have lost and have forced their opposition to make more tackles. On statistics alone, many will be betting on the Blues week in week out. And tonight, was no different. Amidst the loss we take a look at all the factors that make the Blues a winning team. The Blues went down 12 - 24.
Possession: Highlanders 49% - 51% Blues
Metres: Highlanders 372 - 513 Blues
Defenders Beaten: Highlanders 16 - 20 Blues
Gain line carries: Highlanders 46 - 52 Blues
Offloads: Highlanders 10 - Blues 14
Tackles Made: Highlanders 150 - 132 Blues
Tackles Missed: Highlanders 20 - 16 Blues
Tackles Success: Highlanders 87% - 88%
One can clearly see that most of the attacking plays have been carried out by the Blues and while the territory figures were against them, most of the first half when they were playing their rugby in the right places, they just couldn't capitalise. With a backline including Ma'a Nonu and Reiko Ioane the side from Auckland will need to work on the execution. The forwards include players who are an obvious threat and strong on defence, yet the results are just not coming. Akira Ioane will need to make his presence felt next week as he was almost absent tonight.
If the Blues want a favourable performance next week they will need to work on their execution and coming out as a team and not individuals. Rugby is a game that’s won on the scoreboard and neither on paper nor on statistics.