Austin's RWC1 Stats and Analysis - Wallabies v Italy - Green and Gold Rugby

Austin’s RWC1 Stats and Analysis – Wallabies v Italy

Austin’s RWC1 Stats and Analysis – Wallabies v Italy

The Wallabies game against Italy last Sunday was a really solid start to the World Cup campaign.

There was always the prospect that the Wallabies could start the tournament a little slowly with a drop in intensity after the Tri-Nations final and a week off. The heavy rain at the start of the game wouldn’t have helped but I was happy enough with the first half performance. 

The Italians played well, the wet conditions suiting their game plan and with 15 penalties interrupting the flow of the game the Wallabies could have panicked with a 6 all score line.  However, the Wallabies are a much more composed side than they used to be and they stuck to their own plans and ground the Italians down.  Those four tries in the second half were more a result of the work done in the first half more than anything.

The Australian scrum was really good against the strong Italian pack.  The lineout was reasonable but has room for improvement, losing two of their own lineouts against an Italian lineout that wasn’t strong. 

Whilst the Wallabies were turned over eight times at the breakdown they still retained the ball 92% of the time they took it in whilst limiting the Italians to an 86% retention rate.

Once again the Wallabies kicked more than their opposition, with 41% of possessions ending in a kick and I rated 78% of those kicks as positive.  A couple of Will Genia’s box kicks held up in the wind and I wish Kurtley Beale would forget the chip kick.

Overall the Wallabies had 60% of possession (69% in the first half and 51% in the second half).  They used that possession well making 9 line breaks to the Italians 1.

I only recorded 6 missed tackles for the game by the Wallabies with James Horwill who missed 2 being the only player to miss multiple tackles.

I thought Horwill was strong when he ran the ball but his workrate was down from where it’s been.  I was surprised he was man of the match.  Rocky Elsom, Sekope Kepu, Radike Samo and Anthony Faingaa all had quieter games than we need from them.

David Pocock was good (I can’t remember the last quiet game he had for the Wallabies, if ever) as was Ben Alexander.  However the standout in the forward pack was Dan Vickerman and he finished with the highest Involvement rate of the starting pack at 1.03, well ahead of even Pocock at 0.88.

Will Genia and Quade Cooper directed the team really well and the composure I talked about earlier has a lot to do with how well they’re going. 

Pat McCabe and Adam Ashley Cooper were solid enough but AAC needs to do some work on catching high balls.  Anthony Faingaa had a very quiet game – apart from the one strong tackle and turnover he added little.  Even though James O’Connor came on when the Italians were tiring the difference he made with AAC moving into the centres was compelling.

Digby Ioane was really good in attack and defence.  I hope we see him back in time for the quarter finals.  Kurtley Beale’s form concerns me – after such a strong 2010 I was expecting more from him than we’ve seen so far in 2011.  He needs to straighten his attack up as he’s been run into touch himself or taken the space of his outside men far too often this season.

It was good to see Tatafu Polota-Nau back on the field for the Wallabies but it’s obviously going to take at least a couple of games for him to clear the rust out.

The Involvement Rates for all the Wallaby players is shown below.

Click on the icon in the column headings to sort the data.

Game MinsCarriesTotal Tackles MadeTotal Breakdown InvolvementsTotal InvolvementsInvolvement Rate
Sekope Kepu804734450.56
Stephen Moore6511725430.66
Ben Alexander659831480.74
Dan Vickerman659949671.03
James Horwill8081233530.66
Rocky Elsom697222310.45
David Pocock594939520.88
Radike Samo8010422360.45
Will Genia60112130.22
Quade Cooper802523300.38
Digby Ioane801495280.35
Pat McCabe805713250.31
Anthony Faingaa461890.20
Adam Ashley-Cooper8010512270.34
Kurtley Beale801529260.33
Tatafu Polota-Nau151670.47
James Slipper151780.53
Rob Simmons152211151.00
Ben McCalman21439160.76
Scott Higginbotham11238131.18
Luke Burgess2024280.40
James O'Connor34626140.41

Finally, my MOTS Award (Man Of The Statistics) has to be Dan Vickerman, even if we should deduct something for his referee back chat!

Click on the relevant icon below to see the full team or player statistics for the Wallabies.



  • Kunte

    Finally, someone who agrees Horwill had a good game but shouldn’t be the MOTM. Ioane or Vickerman was the right choice….

    • The Rant

      just look at how many MOTM and player of the year awards McCaw has got…most well deserved but theres also a lot of residual glow from being the leader.

  • The Rant

    good to see Samo play out the 80. Would like to see higgers go on at the 60 mark instead of the 70.

    I like that at least 10 of vickermans breakdown ‘involvements’ are him just turning up after it is formed and settled and just smashing into to the first opp. player for almost no purpose other than to inflict pain.

    surely ant made more than 1 tackle? Did he miss any?

  • Pedro

    Nice work Scott, very interesting reading.

    Vickerman’s involvement rate of over 1 for 65 minutes is impressive, does that happen often?

    • Scott Allen

      I’ve only started the Involvement Rate in 2011. In the Tri-Nations Pocock was the leading member of the starting pack with 0.78, 0.79, 0.74 and 1.03 in the four games. Vickerman achieved 1.04 over 53 mins in game 4 v the All Blacks and then 1.03 over 65 mins v Italy last weekend.

      No other member of the starting pack this year has reached an Involvement Rate of 1.0.

      The 1.03 Pocock acheived in game 4 v the All Blacks was easily the highest of any starting forward who’s played 80 minutes.

      • Pedro

        Thanks for the reply Scott, your dedication is both enviable and admirable.

        Pocock is a monster and your stats reflect this, he really has a motor the far exceeds that of most mortal men. Over 1 for 80 mins should earn a 10 in the ratings section, really can’t happen that often.

        I really am surprised by Vickerman though, he was always class before his hiatus, but the stats really reflect a contribution that goes beyond the mere niggle and confrontation obvious to most. All power to him and what superb judgment by the coaching staff to see how up for pinnacle rugby he is.

  • Patrick

    Gee Vickerman smashed it up a bit, great to see. Worried about some many of the other forwards having involvement rates below 50 though.

    The unsung hero there is Benny A, he really got around a bit plus seemed to hold up his side of the scrum well and even bagged the meat pie, he could have had his hand up for a few votes in the MotM game too looking at it from this perspective.

  • qwerty51

    Hopefully Vickerman gets some decent recognition this year. Robbed of the Super rugby best player in 2008 as well.

  • Dovester

    Amen to Beale being banned from those stupid chip kicks

    • Graeme

      I’d rather he be banned from running it into touch. At least some of those chip kicks have worked over the years.

      • BloodRed

        There was that one in his first game for the Tahs…………….since then?

  • Robson

    Faiinga never had a single carry!! Am I the only one who is surprised by that?

    • mark conley

      Are there any data on how many times the ball got to the 13 position when Fainga’a was there compared to when AAC was there??

  • JonC79

    I think Kurtley Beales form might be affected by the fact he isn’t defending at 15. So it detracts from is counter-attack.

    • Rob

      I agree. It’s about time QC mans up and learns how to tackle. Or chuck him on the wing… His counter attack it good but runs sideways/takes stupid options. He has far more ass than class in counter attack. QC has nothing on Beale when he runs it back hard. Beale was unbelieveable for the tahs. If he can get some of that form back for the wallabies, we’ll be close to unstoppable. On another note, how good is it watch vickerman clean out for no apparent reason. Love it.

  • Wallaby Fan 2011

    Scotty not sure your stats are right on the Finger as I saw him make a great run over the advantage line against the Italians but you don’t have that down? and he pulled off a couple of good tackles 1 which was a turnover. I admit I am a fan of his ability to bring the defensive line up quickly and those stats don’t flatter him in the slightest, I hope he stays there as he will help us against the likes of the AB’s and Poms later down the track.

    • Scott Allen

      I had a quick look again.

      Faingaa did have a carry – at 27.46 in the first half – Greg Clarke called it as AAC and I went with that but on closer inspection it was Faingaa with AAC supporting him.

      Apologies to Ant.

      I can definitely only see one tackle – at 44.22 – that’s the same one he got the turnover on.

      I also checked Sportsdata and they have him making one run and one tackle.

      • Wallaby Fan 2011

        Nice work Scotty that just saved one arguement with my missues tonight as I won’t have to watch the game again.

      • mark conley

        Fainga’a A, is integral in the WB’s 22!
        I live in the ACT, born and raised in NSW, can’t stand anywhere north of Wollongong but am a BIG fan of Tapui and Fainga’a.A.!


Scott is one of our regular contributors from the old days of G&GR. He has experience coaching Premier Grade with two clubs in Brisbane.

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