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.
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
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
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
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.