Round 3 presented 4 Aussie teams head-to-head. (Waratahs Bye)
The Brumbies proved to be worthy Conference/Australasian Group leaders with a 31:14 win over the Force in Perth. In many respects this game unfolded in much the same manner as the Round 1, Brumbies v Waratahs game with the Force getting outscored and out-penalised in the first 20 minutes. Total Final Ruck Involvements are very close despite the Brumbies out-rucking the Force during this opening period..
The Rebels had a close 25:23 win over the Reds in Melbourne. Total Ruck Involvements indicate that the Rebels strongly supported their ball carriers due to the high level of involvement by the Reds’ Back Row.
The Brumbies showed an even ruck distribution across the player groups. Strong ruck involvements from both their Front Row and Locks and reduced involvement by their Back Row after Pocock suffered a broken nose just after half-time.
By the 22 minutes mark the Brumbies had averaged 85% possession and leading 17:0. The Force Back Row and Backs worked hard to support their ball carriers after this early dominance by the Brumbies.
Sam Carter and Rory Arnold showed the highest level of support for the Brumbies’ ball carriers.
The Force and Rebels Locks had the lowest level of involvement.
The different strategies and skill sets of these teams are most evident in the spread of Defence Ruck Involvements.
The Force showed fairly even involvement across all player groups. The Force Backs show a high level of involvement due to their desperate last line of defence.
The Brumbies had the most involved Front Row due mostly to the efforts of Alexander, Sio and Alaalatoa.
Although Turn Overs Won were very close (Brumbies 7:6 Force) the Force were frequently penalised at the breakdown (Total Penalties – Force 17:10 Brumbies)
Most stats from the Rebels v Reds game were close (TOW – Rebels 4:5 Reds), however, the Rebels exercised a higher level of discipline (Penalties – Rebels 8:13 Reds).
The Brumbies appear to have capped their HEs at about 10 per game.
The Reds and Rebels have reduced their HEs to about 30% of the HEs in Round 1.
The Force has shown the most improvement to <20% of the HEs in Round 1.
TOP AUSSIE RUCK INVOLVEMENTS
This week the list is dominated by Back Rowers with a single Front Rower, Toby Smith, making a major contribution for the Rebels.
Neville and Schatz making the top list due to their big efforts in the closing 10 minutes.
WESTERN FORCE V BRUMBIES
The first 20-30 minutes of this game unfolded in much the same way as the Round 1, Brumbies v Waratahs match.
The Force was heavily penalised for lack of discipline plus a Yellow Card to Pek Cowan (14 mins). This resulted in the Force standing off most rucks in an attempt to maintain their defensive line.
After 24 minutes (when Cowan returned), the Brumbies had benefited from 85% possession, were leading by 17:0 and the Penalty count was Force 7: 2 Brumbies.
The turning point in the match began to unfold during the 26 – 30 minute period, during which the Brumbies were penalised 4 times and Cubelli was given a Yellow Card. The Penalty count became Force 7:6 Brumbies.
By the 30 min mark, Ruck Involvements were Brumbies 93:59 Force.
(At the same stage in the Round 1 game it was Brumbies 90:49 Waratahs.)
From 30 mins the game was very even with both sides adding 2 converted tries (14 points).
The final penalty count was Force 17:10 Brumbies.
The Total Ruck Involvements data is a good indication of the extent of the Force fightback – Brumbies 287:273 Force. (In the Round 1 game it was Brumbies 307:218 Waratahs.)
1. Early means 1st or 2nd of player’s team AFTER the ball carrier has been tackled and brought to ground.
2. Impact means active engagement: strong physical contact, changed shape of ruck, clean-out, protecting ball etc. (more than hand on someone’s bum or arriving after the hard work has been done). Yes it’s subjective – but as I collect all data at least it’s consistent.
3. Impact DOES NOT equate to Effectiveness. I’ve concluded that coming up with an effectiveness measure is just too hard in the time that I have available – but open to suggestions.
Ruck Involvements over time
Sustained 80-minute efforts for the Force by by Hodgson and McCalman.
Commendable first run-on efforts for the Force by R Haylett-Petty and Ainsley.
Pocock obviously effected by his broken nose shortly after half time.
Strong Ruck Involvements by the Brumbies bench – especially L-Makin, Smiler and Alaalatoa.
Next Aussie derby is Reds v Waratahs on 27 March.