Six Nations 2018 Tournament Preview from The 1014 Rugby
Six Nations 2018 is almost upon us and The 1014 Rugby look back at the past seasons to see if there are patterns emerging. And if they can predict what the coaches are thinking. The Six Nations is a great tournament, but we know that some of the coaches have their eyes on 2019. What can we pick out from past numbers? And how do those numbers affect this season? If at all.
The draw is all important for the Six Nations and 2018 is no different. We know that Warren Gatland is happy with the Welsh draw and Gareth is definitely happy with the Irish draw. How does the draw impact your team’s chances, particularly given that momentum plays such a large part in tournament success?
Game on game analysis
The following diagrams represent the game on game selection patterns in the Six Nations since the last World Cup. The diagram on the left shows players that are new to the Six Nations since the first match in 2016. The diagram to the right shows the game on game changes.
Note: game on game changes refer to what number a player was wearing. For example, if Maro Itoje is wearing six in one game and then five in another game then that is a game on game change. Even if Courtney Lawes is the player that was wearing five in the first game and six in the second game.
Here we run through some analysis of tries scored in previous Six Nations campaigns.
The interesting bit about the following image is that in the last two season at least 20 tries have been scored in the final weekend. This number distorts the rest of the numbers to some respect.
The Italians had woeful defence last season and conceeded 40% of all tries scored.
Both the Irish and the French take a significant amount of time to score tries. They need more than twice the possession of both England and Scotland. Will this change this season?
Even though the French did not perform as well as they would have liked last season they still have a great try conceding record. Certainly in terms of how long the opposition needs the ball to break them down. This surprised The 1014 Rugby.
Try scoring analysis
The following images show numerous metrics of where tries originated, how many passes were involved, how many rucks and mauls were required and much more. There are some very interesting observations in the images; notably, the number of tries scored from lineouts. And the lack of Welsh tries when they go past 7 passes.
The number of passes made by each team not only tells you how much possession they had but also what they did with it. Look at the number of passes the Irish made compared to everyone else and combining that with the type of pass you get a great insight into how they play.
Rucks and mauls
Along with the passes, if you combine the data for the rucks and mauls you can clearly see what teams are trying to do. Look at the number and frequency of the Irish rucks and mauls. On the other hand, the French are only going into rucks four times for every five rucks the Irish do.
With the lineouts being the most popular method of possession leading to a try it is important to analyse who is winning what lineouts. England, Ireland and Wales all win at least 90% of their own ball. However, the impressive statistic occurs in the second image that shows England winning a phenomenal 10 lineouts from 16 contests on the opposition throw. Compare this to Scotland who wins 10 but with 35 contests you start to get a picture of just how dominant the English lineout is.
With tactical kicking coming more and more to the fore the following two slides show not just the number of kicks going in, but also who is making them. An interesting insight is the number of times the French midfield put boot to ball. It is only once for every 30 times they get the ball. Compare that to Italy who kicked every 6.8 times they got the ball. Why would that be? What does that tell you about the game plans?
It is interesting to see the number of times that the English midfield kicked the ball. This goes with their gameplan.
This image is interesting mainly for the fact that England did not win a single kick they contested. This is from kick-offs and is possibly something that Eddie Jones will need to work on with them for the Six Nations 2018.
The percentage of scrums won is high and this is to be expected given the rulings on scrums nowadays. What is not expected is an 80% scrum success from the Welsh? How on earth did that happen? Was it the 100-minute French game? Or is there an underlying issue?
All of these slides and more and discussed in depth in The 1014 Rugby’s Six Nations 2018 Tournament Preview.
From The Shed
Author: The 1014 Rugby
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