With fewer set pieces, a substantial reduction in kicks from hand and many more passes, the 2011 Rugby World Cup saw a renewed emphasis on running rugby.
This is highlighted in the IRB Game Analysis Unit’s comprehensive statistical report which details all the trends from rugby’s showcase event and takes a closer look at how New Zealand lifted the Webb Ellis Cup for the second time.
The report provides a detailed analysis of all 48 matches and the contrasting styles of the 20 participating teams and details how the Rugby World Cup has evolved since 1995 and why the 2011 World Cup was the most competitive tournament to date.
2011 Rugby World Cup Highlights –
* Scrums, lineouts and kicks were reduced from the 2007 Rugby World Cup, while passes significantly increased, highlighting an emphasis on running rugby
* In almost 80 percent of matches, the team scoring the most tries won the match – in only one match did the team scoring the fewest tries win because of penalty goals
* Winning margins in the opening pool matches between Tier 1 and Tier 2 halved, reflecting the improved performances of Tier 2 teams since France 2007, with Tier 1 teams no longer pulling away from Tier 2 opposition in the final 20 minutes of a match as frequently as in the past
* The smaller winning margins extended across the whole tournament with Tier 1 v Tier 1 matches producing far small winning margins than ever before
* Despite such competitive matches, yellow cards were half those issued at the 2007 Rugby World Cup
* The 2011 Rugby World Cup also confirmed that any scrum problems are concentrated on matches between Tier 1 teams with collapses and penalties in matches played between Tier 2 teams being substantially fewer
In the most detailed Rugby World Cup statistical analysis ever, the report provides a detailed analysis of the performances of the teams in all aspects of play, including scoring, winning margins, impact of penalty goals on match results, rate of try conceding, source of tries, try locations, timing of tries and penalty goals, ball in play and possession, passing, rucks and mauls, kick-offs and restarts, lineouts, free kicks, penalties conceded, penalty options taken and cards.
The report also features a fascinating analysis of how the tournament has evolved since the 1995 Rugby World Cup to become a game of fewer set pieces and greater ‘ball in play’ time.
From a time when there were as many set pieces as breakdowns, there are now four times as many breakdowns as scrums and lineouts combined.