The All Blacks were outstanding against the Wallabies on the weekend. It was a dominant display and on the night there was a significant gulf between the two teams.
In my opinion I’d rate the All Blacks performance at around 90 per cent. The only areas I think they would have been unhappy with were their scrums and lineouts.
Wyatt Crockett looks a likely candidate to earn plenty of penalties with his technique and his position in the squad must be in doubt, given the improvement when the Franks brothers were together.
The All Blacks’ lineouts were average with only 79 per cent of their own throws won and three turnovers to the Wallabies. In addition, a further five of Keven Mealamu’s lineout throws that were allowed would be called ‘not straight’ by most referees.
If the All Blacks had not had those issues I would have rated their performance at 95 per cent, which is as close to perfect as you’ll ever get. If they can achieve a game that close to perfect I can’t see any team beating them in 2011.
The Wallabies ran into a red-hot All Blacks team and by comparison they played poorly. If they perform at the same level in any Test match for the remainder of the season they’ll struggle. I’d rate their performance at around 70 per cent. Many will think that rating too high, but having watched the game play by play again, I believe it wasn’t as bad as it seemed watching it live.
The Wallabies have work to do on their restarts. Like the commentators, I don’t understand why all seven kick-offs went to the same spot. Variety is an important element in restarts but the Wallabies offered Plan A only. Maybe they’re holding back Plan B for the World Cup!
One big plus: the Wallaby scrum was solid and surprisingly the All Blacks were not able to disrupt the Wallabies’ ball.
One of the most interesting statistics from the game is that the Wallabies actually outpointed the All Blacks at the breakdown. They retained the ball 93 per cent of the times they took it into a breakdown whereas the All Blacks retained 92 per cent. Both teams achieved 7 turnovers at the breakdown, and for the first time in a long time the Wallabies’ success in this area wasn’t all about David Pocock. James Horwill and Rocky Elsom led the way with two turnovers each.
A new statistic I’ve added is Possession Zones, to measure where attacking breakdowns occurred during the game. In the first half the Wallabies had over 60 per cent of the possession and 31 per cent was within the All Blacks’ 22, yet the Wallabies couldn’t score. In the second half the Wallabies had just a little over 40 per cent of possession and only 9 per cent was within the All Blacks’ 22. Those numbers result from of a combination of fantastic defence from the All Blacks and a lack of patience from the Wallabies.
One area the Wallabies were poor was retention of possession, 44 per cent of their ball lost through a combination of dropped ball, being run into touch, turnovers at the breakdown and lost lineouts. In the first half that measure was 33 per cent but in the second half it jumped to 54 per cent as they chased points. The All Blacks, by comparison, had a near-perfect first half with only 16 per cent of possession turned over, but they lost 56 per cent in the second half. The Wallabies’ passive defence in the first half didn’t place enough pressure on the All Blacks.
In defence, the Wallabies missed 24 tackles for a completion rate of 85 per cent. There is room for improvement in that measure but the main thing they need to ramp up is their dominant tackles. I recorded only 12 dominant tackles from 141 completed (9%). That’s far too low, and if the Wallabies are to compete with the All Blacks then dominant tackles will have to represent 20–25 per cent. I didn’t record this measure for the All Blacks, but I’m sure it would have been much higher. Dominance in the tackle was one of the reasons for the All Blacks’ overall dominance.
If you thought Rocky Elsom didn’t do much and was seagulling on the wing, you should watch the game again because in comparison to the rest of the Wallaby pack he was second only to James Horwill in the number of carries, second only to David Pocock in breakdown involvements and was in a group of forwards sharing the amount of defensive work behind Pocock. He led the pack in dominant tackles, with four out of his ten completed being dominant. Rocky could certainly have reduced his missed tackles: I recorded four missed, and against ten completed that makes a completion rate of 71 per cent. The other area I’d like to see a better performance from Rocky is with his ball running — he’s going into contact far too high and he’s developed a tendency to try and run over the top of defenders rather than run into space, which he used to do so well. Rocky had an Involvement Rate of 0.65.
I’ve seen comments that people consider David Pocock had a quiet game. It may have been quieter than his normal blockbusters but he still topped the tackle count for the Wallabies, missed only one tackle and was well ahead in the breakdown involvements. His Involvement Rate as 0.79.
If you want to look at forwards not sharing the workload it’s Ben McCalman (Involvement Rate 0.45) you should accuse. In his 56 minutes on the field he made 7 carries, 10 tackles, missed 2 tackles but only hit 8 breakdowns. His ball carries were ineffectual and it must be time to see what Higginbotham or Samo can do starting at No. 8.
The Involvement Rate measures the carries, tackles made and breakdown involvements against the number of minutes played. Some people have commented that this measurement is skewed towards those who don’t play a full game. The argument goes that the numbers for the starting player don’t include the period late in the game when fatigue makes it harder to keep working, and the numbers for the replacement player should be much higher as he has not had to do as much work and therefore shouldn’t be as fatigued.
I agree with those comments but rather than try to introduce an arbitrary adjustment, I’ll just give the simple Involvement Rate for all players. When making comparisons between players’ performances you can take into account whether they played a full game, the first part or the last.
On the basis that a player being replaced should have a higher Involvement Rate than one who plays a full game, Ben McCalman’s Involvement Rate should have been higher. Then again, his low Involvement Rate was probably the reason he was replaced, so it’s not surprising that it was low.
You’d also expect that the replacements would have a higher Involvement Rate as you want your bench players to come on and provide fresh legs and have an impact. That was certainly the case with Dan Vickerman, Scott Higginbotham and Saia Faingaa, who had Involvement Rates of 0.89, 0.83 and 0.82 respectively. Compare those to the best of the whole-game forwards, David Pocock, with an Involvement Rate of 0.79.
The table shows the Involvement Rate for all the Wallabies. Click on the icon in the column headings to sort the data.
|Player||Game Mins||Carries||Total Tackles Made||Total Breakdown Involvements||Total Involvements||Involvement Rate|
Later in the week I’ll post my analysis of the work the Wallabies back-rowers were doing during the game, my analysis of the Wallabies’ disjointed decision making and attack, and my video analysing infringements by both teams at the breakdown.
To download the detailed statistics for the team or players, click on the relevant icon: