We’re two years out from the Rugby World Cup, and a question on every rugby fanatic’s mind is how will Ireland perform this time around?

Positioned 4th on the rugby world ranking, it would seem a semi-final could be a possibility. However, when looking at the stats, Ireland may have to make a few changes in order to ensure a place in the semi-finals. Check out The 1014 discussing this here.

Since the last World Cup, Ireland has only managed to win 60% of their matches, with seven of their twelve wins being at home. They tend to fail at securing a win when playing away, particularly against Tier 1 nations. In that time they have played 11 Tests away. In these 11 matches, they have secured 5 wins. But, and it is a big but, 4 of them have been against opposition outside the Top 10 ranking spots at the moment (Italy, Japan and USA). So having the World Cup in Japan will be a challenge in itself for Ireland.

Getting the the semi-final means getting past either NZ or SA.
Getting the the semi-final means getting past either NZ or SA.

Come from behind

Ireland has never come from being behind at halftime to win a match since the last Rugby World Cup. And they have given away two winning positions.

Stats might indicate how they use their squad when they take their opportunities and what part of the game they shut down. When they are behind in the first half they tend to get disorganised under pressure and they move away from their game plan. Ireland will need to train their mindset if they want to turn the game around when coming from behind, as it’s the top two inches that wins games.

First half points

Another interesting pattern is that they gain 56% of their points in the first half and struggle to continue putting points on the board. Is this down to fitness? Or lacking depth on their bench?

It is clear to see not only their half-time record, but also the % of points they have scored (and conceded) in the first half.
It is clear to see not only their half-time record, but also the % of points they have scored (and conceded) in the first half.

Winning teams are no longer just the starting 15, it’s the full 23 and the bench should be able to make an impact. The stats indicate that they start well but fade in the closing stages, especially in the final quarter of the game, where subs are usually made. Ireland will need to play a full 80-minute game using the full squad to keep up the intensity to break that cycle.

So, what is their plan for this November? Let us know what you think. Do they have what it takes to win the World Cup?

Author: Taylor Curtis

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