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RBS 6 Nations Analysis: A Dozen For Ireland

RBS 6 Nations Analysis: A Dozen For Ireland

Ireland claimed their 12th outright Championship title and their second RBS 6 Nations crown with a thrilling 22-20 victory in Paris on Saturday night – quite a turnaround from their fifth place finish in 2013.


The performance figures bear out that we witnessed one of the most attacking-orientated Championships of recent years:

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– We had the most ball carries (3,463), the highest tally since 2001

– 537 defenders were beaten, the best since 2003

– Defences were pressurised into working harder than they ever have before, making a shuddering record total of 3,747 tackles in the tournament, almost 300 more tackles than the previous best year

– Of those Italy made a whopping 772 tackles, smashing the previous highest total of 654 which the Azzurri themselves also set in 2009


This season Scotland’s Jonny and Richie Gray became the 15th different set of brothers to appear in the RBS 6 Nations, although the only other pairings who have not started together in the same team in the Championship are Mako and Billy Vunipola, and David and Paul Wallace.

Ireland’s Rob and Dave Kearney became the first siblings to play alongside each other and claim the RBS 6 Nations Championship title.

In the days of the old Five Nations, the following four pairs of brothers have taken the crown since 1990:

– Gavin and Scott Hastings for Scotland in 1990

– Rory and Tony Underwood for England in 1995

– Marc and Thomas Lievremont for France in 1998

– John and Martin Leslie for Scotland in 1999


England claimed the Triple Crown for the first time since the 2003 Grand Slam and finished up as runners-up in the RBS 6 Nations for a third successive season.

The Triple Crown trophy actually only came into existence for the first time in 2006, with teams previously claiming the accolade but not having any silverware to go with it.

If a trophy had been awarded since the start of the Championship in 1883 then England would have held it for the longest cumulative time (56 years), followed by Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

The longest single tenure is 15 years and 2 days, when Wales took the ‘trophy’ off the then current holders England in beating Ireland 14-8 in Cardiff in 1965 and then holding on to it until England beat Scotland at Murrayfield to claim their Grand Slam in 1980.

TOP PERFORMERS (2000-2014)

Looking at the player statistics since the RBS 6 Nations began in 2000 there were quite a few record-breaking performances in 2014:

– Sergio Parisse became the first player to carry the ball 500 times in his RBS 6 Nations career, achieving the milestone during Italy’s round 2 game against France in Paris

– Mike Brown broke Iain Balshaw’s 13-year-old record for metres gained in a campaign, running for 543 metres with ball in hand

– Rob Kearney raised his own Irish seasonal record, running for five more metres than he did in 2012

– Yoann Huget equalled Emile Ntamack’s French record of 13 offloads in a campaign, originally set in the inaugural season of 2000

– Danny Care broke the English record for the most passes thrown in a season with 306, 18 more than the previous incumbent Kyran Bracken in 2002

– Greig Laidlaw took the Scottish record for most passes by the narrowest of margins possible, beating Bryan Redpath’s record by one: 302 to 301

– Chris Henry made 64 tackles in 2014, breaking the Ireland record set by Stephen Ferris in 2012

– Wales flanker Dan Lydiate set a new mark for the most tackles made in a campaign without missing one: 66. Previously, Fulgence Ouedraogo from France held the record with 56 in 2008

– Courtney Lawes set a new English record for lineouts won with 28, beating Ben Kay’s tally of 25 in 2005

– Dylan Hartley was the most accurate lineout thrower ever, losing just two of 55 throws this season for a 96.4% success rate, beating his fellow Northampton Saint Steve Thompson who achieved 95.2% in 2006

– Italian wing Leonardo Sarto had a storming debut season, running for 243 metres from 26 carries at an average per carry of 9.35m: the best average of any player who carried the ball at least 20 times in 2014

– Owen Farrell landed seven conversions out of seven against Italy in round 5, only Jonny Wilkinson has kicked more conversions in a single RBS 6 Nations encounter, landing nine against the same opponents in 2001

– Compiled by SFMS Limited (Stuart Farmer Media Services)

RBS 6 Nations Statistics with Accenture