Statistics don’t always tell the full picture! Did you realise that the Wallabies and Wales both won 100% of their scrums in the game last weekend? If you’d missed the match and only saw those statistics, you’d have no idea how badly the Wallabies scrum performed in the match.
The Wallabies only had one scrum in the first half and it was under enormous pressure but McCalman came away with the ball. In the second half the Wallabies had two scrums which were both won reasonably comfortably – one with Alexander at tight head and one with Slipper there. The Wallabies performance in the 14 scrums packed by Wales was another matter all together. There’s been plenty said on that elsewhere so no need for me to cover that aspect of the match any further.
The Wallabies performed much better in the lineouts with their only loss being the crooked throw from Faingaa for an 86% win rate but they managed to take three from Wales reducing their win rate down to 79%.
The Wallabies had 48 possessions compared to 43 for Wales and they used the ball more than Wales with only 34% of possession kicked compared to 56% for Wales. As a result of attacking with the ball more, the Wallabies took the risk of losing possession, which they did 38% of the time they used the ball (15% at the breakdown and 23% from handling errors) compared to only 19% of possession lost by Wales.
Wales were really good at the breakdown and forced 7 clean turnovers of Wallaby possession, whilst the Wallabies managed to force 3 clean turnovers and 3 penalties from Wales.
The Wallabies defence was a big improvement this week with only 17 missed tackles leading to a 90% success rate. Even Quade Cooper improved compared to his performance against the All Blacks in Hong Kong. If you watched the coverage with the Welsh commentators, you’ll have heard them praising the Wallabies defensive line and rightly so – the Wallabies were very well organised and only allowed Wales to make 2 line breaks.
The individual player statistics confirm what Gagger pointed out in his video analysis – Nathan Sharpe is playing really well. He was the leading forward in number of carries and was second only to David Pocock in number of tackles made, whilst only missing one tackle late in the game when he had tired and was stepped. The quality of his carries was also really good. On top of those statistics he topped the dominant tackle count with 6 of his 17 being dominant.
David Pocock once again had an oustanding game, topping the tackle count, a 100% tackle success rate and winning turnovers. Rocky Elsom and Ben McCalaman also had good work rates, whilst Mark Chisolm once again had limited impact.
Kurtley Beale and James O’Connor seem to be getting better every week. Will Genia had a strong game, particularly in defence where he topped the tackle count for the backs. Quade Cooper only missed two tackles and looks to have started fixing some of his technique problems, or was that a one off performance?
Matt Giteau was quiet and I’m sure I wasn’t alone in my frustration when he kicked that ball in the first half when the Wallabies had a 3 on 1 down the left touchline and then when he took his eye off the ball and dropped that pass in the second half when the Wallabies were deep in attack. I won’t call his performance ‘solid’ this week because I thought it was below that of his game against the All Blacks the previous week.
Assuming Moore will come back into the starting lineup with Faingaa on the bench, the only changes I’d consider to the team for the game against England are Humphries in as a straight switch for Chisolm and Barnes into #12 with Giteau starting from the bench, although I’m sure the odds on Robbie Deans selecting the same team three weeks in row would be pretty short.