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England vs Italy: Tale of the tape

13 March 2013

  • looks at the stats from England Italy with the team analysts
  • Line out (93 per cent) and scrum (89 per cent) were tournament highs 
England analysts Mike Hughes (L) and Duncan Locke

Photo: Getty Images

The score line is the only statistic that matters, evidenced by England’s satisfaction after the 18-11 victory over Italy at Twickenham. 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:

"England did not play to their potential, especially in attack, but there were still lots of positives for Stuart and the coaching team, not least the fact that we are four wins from four and play for a Grand Slam in Wales on Saturday.

"England started well and dominated territory and possession in the opening quarter – we had 75 per cent possession and 82 per cent territory – and established at 12 point lead early in the second half. While a look at the stats demonstrates how Italy surged back into the game, they also show how England dealt with it and regained their composure.

Tom Wood rises to collect a line out against Italy, he took a team high six in the game

Photo: Getty Images

"There was a territory swing from the first half to the second half of 75 per cent to 34 per cent and Italy had a 25 phase attack in the second half which meant we defended for twice as long as in any other period of play during this Six Nations, three minutes 17 seconds.  However, during that crucial final 20 minutes we conceded no points, only one penalty and forced Italy into four errors.

"England’s pack also achieved their best set-piece performance so far in the tournament at both scrum and line out. The line out operated at 93 per cent (13 of 14), with Tom Wood taking six, while the scrum was at 89 per cent, winning eight of nine. We also won four penalties from the scrum, which the clinical boot of Toby Flood turned into nine points.

"Our restarts proved a bit more difficult though, we lost territory and failed to get out of our own half from four of five restart attacks.

"Also, crucially, England only conceded five penalties, the lowest since Lancaster has been in charge. We forced Italy into conceding 15 penalties, with Flood kicking all of his six attempts at goal.

Prop Mako Vunipola in action against Italy, he made 14 tackles at 100 per cent success rate on first start

Photo: Getty Images

"England’s overall tackle success rate was 91 per cent and there were some outstanding individual performances. Six players were at 100 per cent success rate, including Chris Robshaw (20) and Wood (18). Joe Launchbury also made 18, while Tom Youngs made 16 and Mako Vunipola, on his first start, made 14 at 100 per cent.

"Our carrying stats were not as high as we’ve seen in other games, with Robshaw again coming out on top with 11 carries. Tom Youngs, Manu Tuilagi and Toby Flood all made nine carries, while Alex Goode took each of his five carries over the gain line.

"In terms of hitting rucks, the usual people were at it again: Wood hit 41; Launchbury 38 (one turnover); Dan Cole 30 (two turnovers); and Robshaw 28 (two turnovers)."