Currie Cup

Lies, damned lies, and statistics



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It was Benjamin Disraeli, the late Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who apparently coined the phrase: “Lies, damned lies, and statistics.” This semi-ironic statement was later popularised by United States satirist Mark Twain.

We feel it is time to dust it off ahead of the Absa Currie Cup semi-finals – when the Free State Cheetahs versus Blue Bulls and Sharks versus Golden Lions go head-to-head on Saturday.

We decided to take a statistical look at the play-offs and see how the teams shape up. The numbers tell a story of their own.

The Sharks and Lions, who meet in the first semi-final in Durban on Saturday, have contested four semi-finals between 1992 and 1999.

The Lions have had the better of their last 10 encounters with the Sharks, winning six of the clashes. However, the Durban-based side, who head into the clash as favourites having won the latest encounter 21-3, have won three of the last five battles.

The Lions last featured in the Final in 2002, when they lost to the Blue Bulls, while the Sharks last featured in the Final in 2003.

The Blue Bulls and the Free State Cheetahs have been the dominant sides in the Currie Cup competition in recent years, with the two sides having contested the last three finals. The Bulls won the 2004 Final, the Cheetahs won in 2005 and last year they played to a draw (sharing the trophy).

The Bulls have featured in the last five finals.

However, this record may come to an abrupt end if recent results are anything to go by. The Cheetahs head into the clash firm favourites, after beating the Bulls 29-17 at Loftus Versfeld last week and also having upstaged them (44-18) in Bloemfontein earlier in the season.

We take a look at the last 10 meetings between the four semi-finalists!

Sharks v Lions:

Sharks have won: 4
Lions have won: 6

2007: Sharks 21-3 Lions (Durban)
2007: Lions 14-7 Sharks (Johannesburg)
2006: Lions 22-21 Sharks (Johannesburg)
2006: Sharks 33-22 Lions (Durban)
2005: Sharks 22-16 Lions (Durban)
2004: Lions 49-35 Sharks (Johannesburg)
2004: Sharks 38-25 Lions (Durban)
2003: Lions 42-38 Sharks (Durban)
2003: Lions 20-17 Sharks (Johannesburg)
2002: Lions 46-37 Sharks (Johannesburg)

Cheetahs v Blue Bulls:

Blue Bulls have won: 5
Cheetahs have won: 3
Matches Drawn: 2

2007: Cheetahs 29-17 Blue Bulls (Pretoria)
2007: Cheetahs 44-18 Blue Bulls (Bloemfontein)
2006: Blue Bulls 28-28 Cheetahs (Bloemfontein – Final)
2006: Blue Bulls 41-31 Cheetahs (Pretoria)
2006: Blue Bulls 24-12 Cheetahs (Bloemfontein)
2005: Cheetahs 29-25 Blue Bulls (Pretoria – Final)
2005: Blue Bulls 26-22 Cheetahs (Bloemfontein)
2005: Blue Bulls 26-16 Cheetahs (Pretoria)
2004: Blue Bulls 42-33 Cheetahs (Pretoria – Final)
2004: Blue Bulls 27-27 Cheetahs (Bloemfontein)
365 Digital

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