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IBM TryTracker suggests England attack must be incisive

31 October 2013

  • IBM TryTracker predicts 'Keys to the Game' ahead of England's clash with Australia
  • Five line-breaks is a goal for hosts at HQ

Following its debut during the 2013 RBS 6 Nations and success during England’s historic series victory in Argentina, IBM TryTracker will once again form part of RFU.com’s extensive match coverage for the 2013 QBE Internationals. First up – on the back of an epic summer of Anglo-Antipodean sport – is Australia’s visit to Twickenham.

IBM’s Predictive Analytics software analyses historic and current rugby data provided by Opta, the world’s leading sports data provider, to provide valuable in-game stats. It gives viewers access to insights that will heighten their understanding of what to watch for in each game and explains what needs to be done to increase the likelihood of a team win against specific opponents.

The IBM TryTracker includes the ‘Keys to the Game’, which predict three crucial areas of performance specific to each team ahead of match day. If a side hits their target in these aspects of their game they will significantly increase their chances of victory. The data collected and provided by Opta for all England internationals is analysed by IBM, before being hosted on RFU.com.

England keys

  • Force a penalty at 16% of own scrums
  • Achieve at least five line-breaks
  • Successfully complete at least 92% of tackles

Dan Cole’s almost single-handed destruction of the Wallaby scrum in the 2010 series Down Under vindicated a truism of Test rugby – that the Australian scrum can be an Achilles heel. Adam Jones and Alex Corbisiero reinforced that theory for the British and Irish Lions this summer, and referee George Clancy will be keeping a very close eye on what is a traditional area of vulnerability for Ewen McKenzie’s side. If Cole and Mako Vunipola can exert enough pressure on Ben Alexander and James Slipper for the Irish official to act, position and (eventually) points should follow.

Marland Yarde

Photo: Getty Images

Outside centre Joel Tomkins may be on debut, but his significant frame and sleight of hand provide an off-loading prowess that has lit up the Aviva Premiership for Saracens over the past two seasons. If the league convert can transfer those skills onto the international stage, the likes of Chris Ashton and Marland Yarde – both bona fide predators on the wings – will thrive. Billy Twelvetrees’ distribution also adds another dimension to England’s attack. Five line-breaks is the aim, so that is vital.

Finally, the hosts’ defence will be under the microscope at HQ. Australia have scored 10 tries over their past two matches with Israel Folau and Tevita Kuridrani demonstrating their potent combination of speed and size – traits that fly half Quade Cooper uses to devastating effect. The benchmark for England’s tackle success is set at 92%, so Chris Robshaw must demand both tirelessness and technique from his charges.

Australia keys

  • Beat at least 12 defenders
  • Make more than 24 kicks from hand
  • Win at least 85% of set-pieces on own ball

After humbling the Pumas in Rosario and running the rampant All Blacks close in Dunedin, Australia arrive at Twickenham with 10 tries and 87 points from their previous two matches. Under McKenzie, their patterns seem to have found verve and incision, so a goal of beating 12 defenders is well within them.

Ben Mowen takes a lineout

Photo: Getty Images

The well-established halfback partnership of Will Genia and Cooper – who have honed their understanding at the Queensland Reds for years – will also be expected to stamp their authority on Saturday’s tussle for territory. Whether Genia from the box or Cooper from the pocket, both can be influential with the boot in open play and have a benchmark of 24 kicks from hand to aim towards.

Finally, as James Horwill has indicated in the lead-up to this Test, Australia must secure a foothold at set-piece for their backline to fire. Wallabies skipper Ben Mowen will hope absence of lineout technician Geoff Parling helps that, but the main onus is on the scrum. Having played under the new laws together for months, they certainly have an advantage.