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Six Nations nearly men Scotland and why the numbers do lie.
Guest blogger (and ardent Scotland fan) Tweetsport tries to discover why her beloved team are so low in the Six Nations table when the figures would suggest otherwise and asks “Head vs Heart, can Scotland beat the French?”
My heart rules my head, always has, so maybe that explains why I am a Scotland fan. It certainly isn’t for the trophies we win! It’s never been easy following my country’s team in any sport, but the rugby squad at the moment are proving very difficult to love.
Despite LineoutCoach Gavin Hickie’s best efforts, there is a part of me which still thinks rugby is a made up sport. 15 big guys run at 15 other big guys to see who can get a weird shaped ball across a line? Really? And the tight tops are because…? The Scotland Team under Andy Robinson which has taken to the field so far in the 2012 Six Nations clearly seem to be making it up as they go along.
Looking at the Six Nations table after two matches, I’m hoping someone doesn’t know their ‘ascending’ from their ‘descending’ and really Scotland are flying high in this year’s championship. Unfortunately I have seen the matches, and I can confirm the data is correct.
Losing to the English in the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand was bad enough but losing the opening match against them (at home!) when they were a completely new England team with little or no international experience and a new manager also marked the end of the unbeaten record at fortress Murrayfield against the ‘auld enemy’ in the Calcutta Cup. The shame was enough to drive Dan Parks into retirement.
Then came Wales and 9 minutes of madness that saw the sin bin occupied and the Welsh score at will. Things were not going to plan. It was ok, the Welsh had apparently forgotten how to kick. Then Leigh Halfpenny remembered. Damn you Halfpenny!
We Scots look for the smallest glimmer of hope and I think you’ll find that despite the lack of points, tries or victories the other Six Nations stats tell a very different story.
So here are 5 reasons why I still believe the Flower of Scotland can send those French homeward tae think again in this years Six Nations.
1 Six Nations Lineout
I am reliably informed that lineouts win matches. No one appears to have told the Scots because they are top in nearly every Six Nation stat but have yet to win. 96% of lineouts won with Richie Gray top of table with 11, hookers Ross Ford 17-1 throws won, Scott Lawson 4-0. Pretty healthy Gav, nothing much you need to work on here.
|Lineouts Won||Scrums Won|
|Six Nations Player||Team||Mins||Lineouts Won||Lineout Steals|
|Six Nations Player||Team||Mins||Throws Won||Throws Lost|
2 Six Nations attacking options
Scotland can in fact claim 7 of the top 10 places in the Six Ntaions most carries table. Clearly none of them involved carrying the ball over the try line as they failed to feature in the tries table top half.
|Six Nations Player||Team||Mins||Carries|
3 Six Nations metres gained and defenders beaten
Rory Lamont at 239m is top player and there are 3 others in the top 10. We also have 4 of the top 6 defenders beaten. So if we know which direction the line is in and we can avoid people stopping us getting there, how are we losing Six Nations matches?
|Six Nations Player||Team||Mins||Metres gained|
|Six Nations Player||Team||Mins||Defenders Beaten|
4 Six Nations Tackles
The Scots are equal top in the number of successful tackles with 93%. Only problem is they share that Six Nations success rate with the French. But still, it’s good right?
|Tackles||Missed||Tackles %||Pens Con||Turnovers Con|
5 Six Nations Superman
The name on everyone lips, well rugby pundits watching Six Nations matches at least, is Dave Denton, Scotland’s new number 8.
The exciting young Zimbabwean, born of a Glaswegian mother, plays his team rugby for Edinburgh and has had 35 carries so far this tournament, gained 117 metres and won man of the match in the Six Nations match against England despite being on the losing side.
Hey, a win is a win! I’d rather have ‘Dents’, ‘Dento’, ‘Double D’ on our side, that’s for sure.
How can you argue with numbers like that? Somehow the Scotland team keep defying these odds and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in the Six Nations and we may well be in for a “gubbing”* by the French. (*Scottish word for badly beaten to the point where you just want to give up and go home. We use it a lot when talking about Scottish teams.)
Much praise has been heaped on the new players coming through and there is a lot to look forward to but they need to start learning to win. I believe they can. Ok, so maybe it’s more in hope than expectation but sport isn’t about logic, it’s about passion.
I love Scotland – first, last, always – so it’s really too late to change now. I’ll always be #backingblue , even if at times they are a bit pants!
Scotland Captain and Hooker Ross Ford shared his new pants (underwear) with Twitter.
Note: I didn’t sit with a pen and calculator, Six Nations stats by Opta Sports!
Tweetsport.co.uk is a real-time sports site covering rugby news and other things which involve balls and scores.
Created by a girl. Who knew?
Lineout – your technical guide to this set piece play.
Rugby World Cup – upset Down Under.
Ireland beat Tri-Nations Champions Australia in the biggest surprise to date at the Rugby World Cup. Huge credit goes to the team and management for this fantastic win. Want to see how Ireland won the game?….
Here is the breakdown…..
Ireland did not let Australia get any useful possession from scrums or lineouts. This is the reason Ireland won the game. If a team cannot win clean ball from a scrum or lineout, they cannot build their phases, plan their attacks and execute as according to plan.
Rugby World Cup Set Piece Analysis
Australia had 10 lineouts in the game. 5 in the first half.
- Full man lineout. Thrown to back pod. Outcome = Penalty to Ireland
- 5 Man lineout. Thrown to pack pod. Overthrow
- Full Man Lineout. Thrown to front pod. Outcome = Held Up – Scrum to Ireland
- Full Man Lineout. Thrown to front pod. Outcome = Scrum to Australia
- Full Man Lineout. Thrown to back pod. Crooked throw.
- Quick Lineout on Australian 5m line. Outcome = Kick to touch. Irish lineout
- Short man lineout. Messy ball back to Cooper. Outcome = Kick away possession
- Full Man Lineout. Crooked throw. Turnover. Irish scrum.
- Full Man Lineout. Thrown to front pod and mauled. Outcome = Irish Scrum.
- 4 Man Lineout. Thrown to back pod and moved off the top. Outcome = Irish Penalty.
- Solid Australian scrum. Outcome = Kick away possession.
- Reset. Scrum collapse. Outcome = Penalty to Ireland.
- Australian scrum under pressure. Outcome = Kick away possession.
- Australia under pressure. Ferris drives Genia back. Outcome = Scrum to Ireland.
- Solid Australian scrum. Outcome = Kick away possession.
- Scrum collapse. Reset. Outcome = Penalty to Ireland
- Attacking Australian scrum on Ireland 5m line. Outcome = Australia scrum
- Attacking Australian scrum. Bow intercepts. Outcome = Australian lineout.
Gavin Hickie, USA Rugby U20s Forwards Coach, is a former Ireland, Leinster and Leicester rugby player now based in California and taking rugby to the USA. He writes for RugbyMag.com and other publications when not coaching for Belmont Shore and blogging about the Rugby World Cup on lineoutcoach.com #busy
Simon Hardy is England Rugby Football Union’s specialist throwing coach.
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