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Tale of the tape: Ireland vs England

13 February 2013

  • takes a look at the stats from England's win in Ireland
  • Eight players in double figures for tackles in genuine team performance
England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster chats to England analyst Duncan Locke at Twickenham

Photo: Getty Images

The score line is the only statistic that matters, evidenced by England’s celebrations after the 12-6 victory over Ireland in Dublin, the first competitive victory there since 2003. 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.

This is what they had to say:

“The consensus from the players afterwards was that the conditions made it game where it was better to “not have the ball” and that is reflected in the stats, with England kicking 60 per cent of their ball and running 101 phases, while Ireland kicked 50 per cent and ran 133 phases.

“England’s defence was what won us the game. From a team perspective, and for the second match in row, we conceded no points when the opposition possession started in our “Red Zone” or 22. Looking at individual player stats, a picture emerges of a real team performance with many significant contributions.

England prop Joe Marler wraps up Ronan O'Gara in the victory over Ireland in Dublin

Photo: Getty Images

Eight players were in double figures for tackles, with seven also achieving a 100 per cent success rate. Front rows Joe Marler (11) and Tom Youngs (10) were notable for their work rate, while Chris Robshaw, Tom Wood and Owen Farrell were all joint top on 14. And while the ball did not reach the midfield too frequently, Brad Barritt made eight tackles at 100 per cent and won a turnover.

“A key part of the game was after James Haskell was sin binned in the second half, with Ireland immediately drawing level. But we emerged from the 10 minutes with a six point lead, which was on the back of 100 per cent positive possession outcomes during that period.

“The breakdown was billed as the key area ahead of the game and England won eight turnovers, coming from seven different players. The usual suspects were again at the top of the charts, with Wood attending 32, Robshaw 23 and Geoff Parling 22, while tighthead Dan Cole hit 24. While it was not particularly a day for back three players, Chris Ashton won two turnovers.

England wing Mike Brown on the run against Ireland in Dublin

Photo: Getty Images

“Given the impact the conditions had on tactics, our carrying stats were the lowest ever, with a total of 52. But within that Mike Brown again excelled on the left wing. After making it over the gain line with 100 per cent of his carries in the autumn against South Africa and New Zealand he was at it again, taking all of his five carries over the gain line. Flanker Haskell topped the carrying numbers with seven.

Parling again grabbed the most line outs (five), with the team operating at 77 per cent (10 of 13). Crucially, however, we won two penalties from line out catch and drive plays and turned over two on Ireland’s throw. England’s scrum operated at 70 per cent success rate (seven of 10) – conceding three points from a scrum penalty – against an Ireland eight that was at 100 per cent.”