Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


RBS 6 Nations after Round 2 – The Key Stats

Matt Scott tackles Mike Brown of England - pic © Al Ross/Novantae Photography
Matt Scott tackles Mike Brown of England - pic © Al Ross/Novantae Photography

After 2 weeks of action the 6 Nations has entered the first of the ‘fallow’ weeks, allowing players the chance to rest up, or get back to club action depending on their activity levels thus far. With a lot of discussion about player stats on the comments sections, I took a look at the state of play so far…


The general impression is that Scotland have been shaky in this area, and the statistics don’t disagree.


England’s horror show against Italy on this front brings their average down, whilst Wales have been superb thus far. Scotland have the lowest success rate.

Metres Gained

Metres Gained

Not great reading for Scotland again, with second least gains. We could say that we are playing in the right parts of the pitch, hence small gains but anyone who has watched both games knows that’s not true… Stuart Hogg gained the most metres vs Wales despite only playing for 25 minutes.



Scotland have not had to make many, which makes the number missed a bit more concerning. The ‘George North’ incident adds significantly to the numbers here. Most worrying though is that the misses on Kruis, North and Roberts all led to tries.



Finally some good news… we are not the penalty monsters that we once were (no Jim Hamilton or Ryan Wilson? Coincidence?). This discipline must be maintained to have any chance in the next few games. It is arguably this stat that stops teams running away from us on the scoreboard, with fewer easy points conceded.

Tries per 100m gained

Tries per 100m

A stat I like to use to display attacking efficiency. This looks simply at how many tries does a team score for every 100m (Average assumption of the length of a field) gained. Scotland again fare badly, not least due to the lack of tries against England. Conversion of chances = accuracy!

Points per 100m

Points per 100m

Whilst we haven’t scored the tries that our potent backline promises, we have scored points. Sitting third on this measure is a decent effort and Grieg Laidlaw must take the credit due to his accuracy with the boot.

Points per Turnover gained

Points Per Turnover

The dual 7 approach and appointment of Richie Gray has led to a significant improvement in Scottish breakdown work. This measures the effectiveness of turning those steals into any type of score. Obviously the major flaw in this measure is the area in which the turnover occurs but I believe that it gives a fair representation of the breakdown work of the teams thus far.

In summary, these stats show really what we already know – we are not scoring enough tries, our lineout is not working and our breakdown is strong. The interesting thing I take from these is how even all the teams actually are. Without a runaway 20 minutes against Italy, England would be slumming it with the rest of the cohort. Realistically we will always stay optimistic about Scotland’s chances but the numbers here show that we should totally believe that we can win our next 3 games. For anyone who is interested here is the screen-grab of the overall stats so far and I am happy to share the Excel file behind it.

Overall Stats

11 Responses

  1. Interesting read John, statistics speak for themselves that we are right in the mix. Would be interesting to see tackles missed as a % of tackles made. Our mistakes seem to come in the worst areas though. losing a lineout on the opposition 5m as opposed to losing one on halfway does not equate to each other.

    Must win game next and at least 1 win if not 2 from Ireland and France. Both looked poor last weekend.

    1. Have to agree that our mistakes have cost us a lot more than others, whether that is in attack (be interesting to see number of knock-ons in opponents 22) or defence (lost set pieces in own 22). Unfortunately unless we cut these out I can see it being a repeat of 2015, especially with Italy away. However, if we do cut out the errors – those that happen in the 22 – I do believe we’ve got 3 wins in us – Italy this week, France at home, then with the momentum to beat Ireland away in Dublin.
      Scott – the figures you wanted (although it makes poor reading) about tackles missed as a %):
      Wales 7.8%
      Ireland 7.9%
      France 8.9%
      England 9.3%
      Scotland 11.7%
      Italy 13.6%

      1. Wow, that makes our defence look a bit woeful in comparison to Wales and Ireland. I agree we have the potential to win our next 3 games. Just hope the boys don’t try and play to Italy’s strengths like we did last year as it cost us. If we play a similar game as the one against Wales then I can’t see us losing.

  2. Interesting stats but the one on the efficiency of turnovers is pointless as if you have few points and few turnovers you could still have a good ratio. Borne out by the fact that we are second in that stat but have the fewest turnovers. And that is despite playing the two sevens!

  3. Thanks for this John. Very interesting indeed! Hopefully we’ve used the break weekend to sort out the line out, amongst other areas.

  4. Thanks for that John but the stat that’s not there is how many points we’ve lost in say the last three quarters of the game when Cotter decides to make all his substitutions nearly in one go???

    1. I believe Scotland give as good as they get in the last quarter of the game, especially if you look at the World Cup matches. Is your beef with the subs all being at once? In which case there isn’t much BVC can do about it – he has 8 subs and, barring injury, only 25-30 minutes to get them on the pitch. If he spread them out that means a sub every 3-4 minutes which seems as ridiculous as sending them all on at once.
      I think we’d agree that the (lack of) impact of the bench is one of the worrying aspects of the squad to date, but I don’t think the timings are wrong.

  5. Really enjoyed that, thanks for the post.

    It also makes for interesting reading to look at the total stats for the comp so far.

    You will see how Scotland have conceded the most turnovers in the comp so far (33), lost the most line outs (6), and at a more detailed level, Finn Russle has made more kicks out of hand than any other player in the 6 nations (36).

    Seems to hint that our breakdown might not be as strong as we thought (although these would have come from dropped balls as well), and obviously shows what we all already knew; that our line-out isn’t working.

    However, I find the Russle stat interesting as it might explain why the likes of Bennett, Taylor, and Scott have been quiet in attack. Although he has beaned a few beauts to the corner he might have to cut down a wee bit to allow our great backs a say in the game.

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