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Tale of the tape: England vs Australia

20 November 2012

  • sits down with England's analysts after Australia defeat
  • Thomas Waldrom was top tackler (21) and joint top ball carrier (12)
England Analysts Duncan Locke (L) and Mike Hughes

Photo: Getty Images

The score line is the only statistic that matters, evidenced by England's immense frustration after the 20-14 defeat on Saturday at the hands of Australia in the second QBE International. But more detailed analysis can also provide a view on the game so called on the unique insight of the people who supply the England coaches with in-game data, analysts Michael Hughes and Duncan Locke, to see what other stories the match stats have to tell.

“As is reflected in the 20-14 score line, the stats show that the game was an even contest in many ways. We had 50 per cent possession during the game, with a total of 48 possessions for England and 49 possessions for Australia.  Although there were momentum swings during the game, there was broadly an even spread across both halves, with England having 26 in the first half and 22 in the second half.

Australia scored all their second-half points in the third quarter before England pressed for the match-winning try in the final quarter. But if you look at possession stats, they point to two relatively even passages of play: in the third 20 minutes England had 12 possessions to Australia’s 13 and in the fourth quarter England had 10 to Australia’s 13.

England No.8 Thomas Waldrom on the charge against Australia

Photo: Getty Images

Handling errors were even too – England made 10 to Australia’s nine – but crucially in terms of disrupting momentum, England turned the ball over six times to Australia’s two between the 60-80 minute mark.

Chances for points were certainly more limited than in the previous week against Fiji: England spent 3 mins 49 seconds in the “Red Zone” or opposition 22 against Australia, compared to 10 against Fiji.

The set piece is always a useful marker of the game. England’s lineout was at 100 per cent (12 from 12) for the second week in a row and replacement lock Joe Launchbury took the most  ball with five in his 27 minutes on the field. We also stole three of Australia's 16 throws.

Our scrum was solid, winning five of seven on our own ball but Australia were also good on their own ball – winning 10 of their 11 scrums.

England centre Manu Tuilagi carries strongly against Australia

Photo: Getty Images

In addition to his try, Manu Tuilagi had a strong game. He carried the ball 11 times, with 80 per cent of those taking him over the gain line.

Thomas Waldrom was close to a match-winning try late in the game and his stats point to constant involvements in the game. He was the top tackler with 21; joint top carrier with Chris Robshaw on 12; and third in terms of hitting rucks on 24.

Brad Barritt made 17 tackles and had a 100 per cent success rate, with all of his carries also taking him across the gain line.  As well as hitting all his jumpers at the lineout, Tom Youngs hit the most breakdowns with 31, with Geoff Parling (29) and Robshaw (27) close behind.”