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Try Tracker stats say English defence must be on song against Italy

08 March 2013

  • The IBM TryTracker includes the "Keys to the Game" which predicts three crucial areas of performance
  • English defence needs to achieve a 90% tackle rate to stand chance of winning 

England’s win over France highlighted that Stuart Lancaster’s side can maintain composure and tempo for 80 minutes against tough opposition. Italy will head to Twickenham on Sunday to try and break England’s unbeaten run so far in the RBS 6 Nations and according to the IBM Try Tracker Keys to the Game, The Azzurri’s best chance of a win is by challenging at the breakdown and keeping the ball in hand.

TryTracker crunches masses of historic and current rugby data to identify three ‘Keys to the Game’ for each team. These are three crucial areas of performance specific to each team and if a side hits their target in these aspects of their game they will significantly increase their chances of victory.

England keys

  • Average more than 4.6m per carry
  • Make more than 5 line breaks
  • Tackle Completion greater than 90%

One area of England’s game that was weaker than normal against France was tackling, with England hitting just 83% completion. The team’s quick line speed in defence does open them up to attacking teams and if they are to nullify Italy’s burgeoning offensive threat they will have to make 90% of their tackles. If they do the job in defence, then the attacking platform will prosper with both the forwards and backs aiming to make five line breaks and an average of 4.6m per carry.

Italy keys

  • Attempt at least 8 kicks at goal
  • Offload at least 8 times
  • Force at least 14 turnovers

If England are aiming to make tackles and force breakdowns, then Italy’s aim is to keep the ball moving out of contact with a target of 8 offloads. In their win against France The Azzurri played flowing rugby and made 14 offloads, so supporting runners will have to be on hand to stretch the English defence. The contact area is going to be a huge contest and a potential game changer for Italy, with a target of 14 turnovers. Being first to breakdowns and forcing turnovers and penalties will help create points-scoring opportunities and get the team close to their target of 8 attempts on goal.