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IRB’s Game Analysis Throws Up Some Interesting Stats

IRB’s Game Analysis Throws Up Some Interesting Stats

The International Rugby Board’s Game Analysis centre, headed up by former referee Corris Thomas, has released its annual review of the RBS Six Nations championship. See below for further details.

The IRB Game Analysis report analyses the trends from every match in the Six Nationa tournament, and gives an in depth insight into how France won the title for the second successive year.

The report shows that, unlike when Wales won the grand slam in 2005, the top three teams in this year’s championship – France, Ireland and England – were the sides whose forwards passed the ball the least.

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An interesting passage of the report deals with Ireland’s rate of passing and their ability to turn possession into points. The data revealed that: “two years ago – in 2005 – Ireland obtained less possession than any other team, they made the fewest passes, fewer rucks and mauls than any other team and kicked more than any other country.

“That all changed in 2006 Six Nations. From being the lowest passing team, Ireland became now the highest, from obtaining the least amount of possession in 2005, only England obtained more in 2006. They also became the second highest rucking team as opposed to the least rucking team in 2005, while only one team kicked less.

“The 2007 tournament saw such levels more or less retained by Eddie O’Sullivan’s team. They remained a high passing team maintaining a high number of passes in all five of their games. They also passed at a higher rate than any other team and obtained more possession than their opponents in four of their five fixtures.

“Ireland were also very successful in both attack and defence. Despite coming second, they were the most effective team in turning possession into tries and also the most efficient in preventing their opponents from scoring tries.”

The report also stated that Ireland’s forwards passed less than any other team in the 2007 Six Nations, but the men in green were the only team to score more tries than penalty goals over the course of the tournament.

“Only 11% of Ireland’s passes were made by their forwards, compared with 12% last year – and there can be periods in a game and even some matches when remarkably few are made,” the report explained.

“In Ireland’s win against Wales, for example, seven of the Irish forwards – the three front row players, the locks and two flankers – made just three passes in the entire game.

“Passes in Ireland’s matches are therefore concentrated in the backs – and as a proportion of all passes, the Irish backs pass more than any other team.”

Click here for details of the IRB Game Analysis report for the 2007 Six Nations