I was asked earlier today how I thought the Reds defence was performing in 2013 as it was suggested defence was a problem area.
My answer – the Reds defence seems fine to me. Sure there have been instances where errors have been made both in defence (the team function of maintaining shape and not leaving holes) and in tackling (the individual function of players executing their one on one tackles), sure there have been tries let in where you’d prefer they hadn’t been but overall I believe defence is not a major problem area in 2013.
Statistics don’t always tell the full story, particularly when you’re looking at only one game in isolation. However, statistics over a longer period are much more valuable so after seven matches in 2013 I thought I’d compare the statistics in defence against the first seven games for the Reds in 2011 and 2012. The results are summarised below:
- Line breaks conceded in 2013 are 37% down from 2011 and 47% down from 2012;
- Tries conceded in 2013 are 25% down from 2011 and 57% down from 2012;
- Missed tackles in 2013 are down 28% down from 2011 and 31% down from 2012;
- The tackles completed percentage of 88% in 2013 is very good.
Those numbers are pretty conclusive – whilst the Reds defence in 2013 can improve it’s not a major problem area.
What about in attack? Some key statistics after the first seven matches of each year are summarised below:
- Line breaks in 2013 are roughly the same as in 2012 when Quade Cooper was injured but 29% down from 2011;
- Tries scored in 2013 are the same as 2012 but 35% down from 2011.
So, rather than defence it’s attack where the Reds need to make most improvement.