Stat Attack: All the ball, none of the points

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Cardiff Blues fell to a disappointing loss at home to Leicester Tigers on Saturday night as the mission to qualify for the European Challenge Cup knockout stages took a severe blow.

With the scores level as the clock turned red we attempted to play out from our own 22 and ended up conceding a penalty that allowed Tom Hardwick to kick the winning points for the English team, as a run of two wins came to an end.

I’ve had a weekly look at the statistics that stand out.

Jinkin’ Jarrod

Jarrod Evans notched two penalties in the early part of the game to give Cardiff Blues a 6-0 lead, with those points taking him above Dan Parks into sixth on the post-2003 top points scorer list.

His 351 points have come in 70 games for the senior team, leaving him with an average of just over five points a game.

There is now a bit of a gap to the next player on the list though, with Leigh Halfpenny sitting fifth on 568 points. At the current rate it will take Evans around 43 games to catch up with the current Scarlets full-back.

His feet have also seen him rise up another statistical leaderboard as he sits second out of every player in the Challenge Cup this season for defenders beaten on 12. Nine of those came in the game against Calvisano alone.

Jarrod Evans Calvisano

Going nowhere

Unfortunately Jarrod Evans is unable to make everything happen by himself, and as a result the attack continues to struggle to get over the line.

Once again on Saturday night Cardiff Blues dominated possession and territory, something we have done in six of the eight games so far this season, but failed to convert that time on the ball into anything more than one try.

With 67% possession and 65% territory, as well as 10 line breaks and a huge 27 defenders beaten, we could only gain 60 more metres than Leicester, with our 2.7m per carry being comfortably outdone by the Tigers’ 4.3m per carry.

Scrum Kings

For the eighth week running Cardiff Blues went 100% at the scrum against Leicester, meaning we still have not lost a scrum on our own ball this season, a quite remarkable record.

Speaking on Karl’s Podcast last week, Scott Andrews mentioned ‘scrum club’, where the front row get together and discuss set piece tactics for the upcoming weekend and it worked a treat on Saturday as Liam Belcher and first Corey Domachowski and then Brad Thyer did well to isolate and overpower Joe Heyes.

With two scrums and a free-kick also won on Leicester’s put-in there has been a real corner turned under scrum coach Duane Goodfield this season, especially impressive without Dmitri Arhip or Dillon Lewis involved.

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