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Tale of the tape: England 29 Wales 18

12 March 2014

  • David Wilson tops ruck stats and enjoys dominant scrum
  • Chris Robshaw racks up 18 tackles 
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 the satisfaction felt by the majority of the crowd at Twickenham as Chris Robshaw lifted the Triple Crown after the 29-18 victory over Wales. But more detailed analysis can also provide a view on the game so called on the unique insight of the people analyse the match for the England coaches and provide in-game data, Michael Hughes and Duncan Locke, to see what other stories the match stats have to tell.

This is what they had to say:

“The first victory for this young England team over Wales was deeply satisfying for the players and management and it was based on strong performances in a number of key areas, which is reflected when you look at the stats.

England had more of the ball then Wales – 53 possessions to 48 – and were more effective with it, ultimately scoring two tries to nil. But if we look specifically at the building blocks of scrum, defence and kicking-game, England were on top in those areas.

Graham Rowntree’s front row struggled a bit against Ireland last time out but the same trio of Joe Marler, Dylan Hartley and David Wilson got the better of their all Lions opposition of Gethin Jenkins, Richard Hibbard and Adam Jones despite conceding a penalty at the game’s first scrum.

England fly half Owen Farrell kicks against Wales

Photo: Getty Images

They won four penalties – which Owen Farrell crucially turned into nine points – and forced Jenkins off after a second-half yellow card with a scrum that won seven from eight put-ins. Wales won both their scrums, but they only had two put-ins.

England’s aggressive line-speed in defence was also very good, forcing Wales into turning the ball over twice as many times – 16 to 8. Leigh Halfpenny kicked all of his 18 points (six from six attempts) from outside our 22, with no points conceded from seven entries in the Red Zone with totalled one minute 17 seconds.

Farrell won four turnovers, Ben Morgan three and Courtney Lawes and Luther Burrell two each.

There were some impressive individual tackling stats too. Captain Chris Robshaw was the top tackler with 18, with back row colleagues Tom Wood and Morgan racking up 17 and 15 respectively. Hooker Dylan Hartley and lock Lawes also each made 15, while fly half Farrell made 10, the most in the backs.

The overall tackle success rate was 90 per cent, with three line breaks conceded, but for no points. 

The success of the kicking game is more difficult to quantify (given the varying objectives when putting boot to ball) but in terms of mixing up his game intelligently, Farrell kicked 19 times, passed 14 times and carried four times.

Chris Robshaw tackles Wales fly half Rhys Priestland

Photo: Getty Images

Mike Brown was England’s most potent attacker – making  12 carries and taking nine over the gainline to achieve one clean-break, three half-breaks and four dominant collisions – but he also kicked possession nine times.

Robshaw topped with the overall carrying stats with 13, while Morgan made 10 (six over the gainline) and Jack Nowell made nine (six over the gainline). England achieved a gainline success rate of 59 per cent in comparison to Wales’ 46 per cent.

In terms of hitting rucks, Wilson was the top man from tight head, arriving at the tackle area 38 times. Lock Joe Launchbury made 31 clear outs and loose-head prop Joe Marler made 26.

England’s lineout operated at 86 per cent (winning six of seven throws), with Man of the Match Lawes claiming four in the air. Wales’ lineout was also at 86 percent (12 of 14).”