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Crusaders stat sparks hemisphere debate

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The jaw-dropping Crusaders stat that favours Robertson's All Black ambitions

As New Zealand grows ever closer to finding out who will be the next All Blacks coach, broadcaster Scotty Stevenson revealed a stat last week that lays heavily in favour of hopeful Scott Robertson. 

Amazingly, Robertson’s current team the Crusaders have not conceded a try from a lineout drive in three years, spanning 54 games. The former All Black has led the Crusaders to three consecutive Super Rugby titles, and a stat like this puts him in pole position to take over from Steve Hansen, particularly if set piece coach Jason Ryan follows him. 

That is a hugely impressive stat, which many people on social media agree with. Some have queried how many penalties the champions give away in their own half, which may skew the stat, but Stevenson pointed out that the Crusaders actually gave away the most penalties per match last season. 

This equally begs the question how many times the team from Canterbury gave away a penalty when their opponents came close to scoring. Even taking this into consideration, this stat is nonetheless a testament to the job that Robertson and Ryan have done with their side. 

Former England flyhalf and columnist Stuart Barnes also raised the point that this is because they “Play in a competition that doesn’t focus on the catch and drive.”

This is a valid point, and a reminder of the eternal stylistic differences between northern and southern hemisphere rugby. It is simply unthinkable for even the strongest sides in Europe to replicate a stat comparable to the Crusaders, in what is a forward-orientated brand of rugby. 

However, it has also been noted that any team facing South African opposition will have to contend with the driving maul. And while there may be a different emphasis in Super Rugby to Europe, this is a breathtaking example of how great a force the Crusaders have been over the past three years. 

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The jaw-dropping Crusaders stat that favours Robertson's All Black ambitions