The RBS 6 Nations' first three rounds: the numbers crunched
Ahead of this year’s thrilling finale, we take a look at key numbers that have shaped the past five weeks.
Nine games into the 2015 RBS 6 Nations we’re headed for a thrilling finale. Ireland – the only team who can still win the Grand Slam - currently top the table ahead of a potentially tournament deciding showdown with Wales. Despite losing in Dublin, England are far from out of contention whilst France, Italy and Scotland will be looking to have their say on the Championship race. We take a look at some of the key numbers that have shaped the past five weeks.
1381 metres gained by England
England are undoubtedly the most attacking team in 2015. They have carried the ball the furthest, they’ve had more line breaks (22), beaten more defenders (67) and scored more tries than any of the other five nations. It is further proof that England are continuing to develop an attacking brand of rugby despite defeat to Ireland.
A bigger surprise perhaps is that winless Scotland have carried the 2nd most metres, just 200m less than England at 1189m. Few can deny that Scotland have been impressive with ball in hand, particularly through the back line. Vern Cotter’s Southern Hemisphere philosophy is clearly starting to show and surely that elusive win can’t be too far away?
114 kicks from Ireland
Ireland have kicked the ball more than any other side (averaging 38 per game) but have done so with exceptional tactical precision. Led by Murray and Sexton they regained possession from six kicks against England and forced a further 13 turnovers from kick returns.
94% goal kicking percentage from Ireland
Whether it is Keatley or Sexton, Ireland have been immaculate in front of goal. 80% is deemed par for goal kicking at international level but Ireland are well above this benchmark. Wales and Scotland are the only other nations to be over that rate with 82% and 85% respectively, whilst England are at 72%, France 63%, and Italy a desperate 42%.
91.1% Tackle success from Scotland
Scotland have, statistically at least, the tightest defence when it comes to making tackles. The Scots average just 13 missed tackles a game. To put that figure into perspective both Ireland and England have so far missed an average of 21 per game.
60 tackles made by Chris Robshaw
England’s skipper has made more tackles than anyone else in the Championship, enhancing his reputation as a tireless team player.
49 offloads from France
France have offloaded the ball in the tackle more than any other team and almost twice as many as the next placed side England (27). They have however also conceded more turnovers than anyone else (48) which highlights the risks of open rugby.
39 points from Leigh Halfpenny
The Welshman’s points tally keeps ticking over with ever-reliable goal kicking. Almost two thirds of Wales’s points have come from the fullback so how important will he be against Ireland this weekend?
18 kicks at goal from Ireland
Not only do Ireland have the best goal kicking % but they are being given more opportunities than anyone else to convert them. A combination of tactical ticking, a coordinated kick chase and superior work at the breakdown have consistently forced their opponents into errors in key areas.
12.7 penalties conceded per game by Scotland
Scotland will be kicking themselves at how many penalties they’ve conceded. It’s not a new problem; they topped the penalty count in 2014 with a total of 60 and are not much better this year with 38 conceded in just 3 games. Considering they’ve lost 2 games by 3 points, what would have been with tighter discipline?
13 Defenders beaten by Stuart Hogg
No one has been more dangerous with ball in hand that the Scottish fullback. He’s personally gained 304 metres, broken the line 5 times and beaten 13 defenders. Will the Scottish flyer derail the England campaign this weekend?
8.7 turnovers per game from Ireland
The men in green have played with meticulous accuracy so far this Championship. They have conceded just 26 turnovers so far, less than any other nation.
7 penalties conceded by Blair Cowan
If one player is attracting the referee’s eye in the breakdown then it is Scotland’s no 7. After round two Scotland had conceded 27 points, 15 of which had come from penalties conceded by Cowan.
3 tries from Joseph
The English centre had a blistering start to his RBS 6 Nations career scoring tries in his opening two games. He is the first man to do that since his fellow centre partner Luther Burrell achieved the same in the 2014 Championship. It is the outside centre however who has impressed this year with some dazzling footwork and some exceptional tries.
3 yellow cards from Scotland
Scotland have spent the most time at 14 men this Championship conceding 3 yellow cards. England are the only team not to have received a card so far.
Throughout the RBS 6 Nations, the Accenture analysis team, which includes Nick Mallett, will be providing fans with insight and analysis to see beyond standard match data. Follow @AccentureRugby