Austin's Stats and Analysis: Wallabies v. All Blacks - Green and Gold Rugby
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Austin’s Stats and Analysis: Wallabies v. All Blacks

Austin’s Stats and Analysis: Wallabies v. All Blacks

The Wallabies were comprehensively outplayed by the All Blacks last weekend. Is there any joy in any of the statistics for Wallaby fans? Not really.

The Wallabies won fourteen of their fifteen lineouts for a 93% success rate. In defence, the All Blacks also lost one lineout from their eleven for a 91% success rate. However, the numbers don’t really tell the full story. On attack the Wallabies’ lineout structures worked much better providing some space for the jumpers. The one they did lose was again a five-man lineout and gave Brad Thorn plenty of time to get up in front of Rocky Elsom. In defence, the Wallabies were also better but still didn’t compete on four of the All Black lineouts not on their own try line. The one win they did achieve was a lineout where the Wallabies didn’t compete but the All Black throw sailed over the top. Speaking of throwing, there were three throws by each team that were clearly not straight but were missed by the referees.

The scrum was a real problem area for the Wallabies. They lost three of their six feeds for a 50% success rate while the All Blacks had a 100% success rate. The Wallaby scrum was much weaker when Tatafu Polota-Nau replaced Stephen Moore, as it was when he played against Ireland in place of Moore and when he replaced Moore against South Africa.

The All Blacks showed that a kicking game can actually be very attacking. They kicked on 60% of occasions they had possession compared to 44% for the Wallabies. I rated 64% of the Wallabies’ kicking as positive and 72% of the All Blacks ‘kicking as positive, which is not a huge difference. It was an improvement for the Wallabies from 53% against the Springboks. The issues that really resulted in the All Blacks having a superior kicking game were a much better kick-chase performance and the fact that their catchers were much more secure than the Wallabies.

At the breakdown the All Blacks dominated, winning crucial turnovers and penalties whenever the Wallabies started to build some momentum. The Wallabies lost seven breakdowns for a 92% retention rate. David Pocock again did all he could and was the major reason the Wallabies won five of the All Blacks breakdowns to leave them with a 95% retention rate.

By the end of the match possession (measured by number of breakdowns) was fairly even with 51% to the All Blacks. That measure was 59% in the first half when most of the damage was done. The Wallabies had 42% of their breakdowns inside the All Blacks’ 22 compared to only 27% of the All Blacks’ breakdowns in the Wallabies’ 22. The All Blacks had 84% of their breakdowns in the Wallabies’ half compared to 70% for the Wallabies in the All Blacks’ half. That much possession in the All Blacks’ 22 without being able to score shows once again how poor the Wallabies attack has become.

The Wallabies missed only 24 tackles in the entire game for an 84% completion rate. Of the tackles made I rated 26% as being dominant, which is about where you need to aim to be. The real problem was that 16 of those missed tackles occurred in the first 13 minutes of the game when the All Blacks had the Wallabies under real pressure. By the time that period was over the score was 8–0 (and should have been more but for Weepu missing two kicks and the All Blacks losing possession twice when they looked likely to score tries) and the Wallabies never really recovered.

That 13-minute period started with Cooper’s kick-off going out on the full. From the ensuing scrum Weepu drove the ball into touch just outside the Wallaby goal line and the Wallabies couldn’t get any field position or decent possession. During this period the All Blacks started possession 10 times compared to the Wallabies with 7. The All Blacks took the ball into 23 breakdowns, 15 of which were in the Wallabies’ 22, compared to the Wallabies taking the ball into three breakdowns, all of which were in their own 22. The Wallabies made 34 tackles in that period compared to 3 by the All Blacks and with the Wallabies missing 16 tackles, they had a completion rate of only 68% in that period. The pressure was immense and the Wallabies conceded a try and two penalties well within kicking distance.

Once that period ended the Wallabies worked their way into the game but we all know the All Blacks are great front-runners and they just controlled the game from that point on, playing a great kick-chase game.

In terms of work done by individual players the Involvement Rate for all the Wallabies is shown below.

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

Game MinsCarriesTotal Tackles MadeTotal Breakdown InvolvementsTotal InvolvementsInvolvement Rate
Sekope Kepu212570.33
Stephen Moore654922350.54
Ben Alexander805837500.63
Dan Vickerman5621340550.98
James Horwill8011734520.65
Rocky Elsom809921390.49
David Pocock80121845750.94
Radike Samo6041113280.47
Will Genia801222160.20
Quade Cooper801414190.24
Digby Ioane801064200.25
Pat McCabe41675180.44
Anthony Faingaa625523330.53
James O'Connor80646160.20
Adam Ashley-Cooper807610230.29
Tatafu Polota-Nau15330.20
James Slipper5971023400.68
Rob Simmons243115190.79
Ben McCalman202411170.85
Luke Burgess
Berrick Barnes39336120.31
Rob Horne181450.28

In the forwards Dan Vickerman and David Pocock were really good with James Horwill, Ben Alexander and Stephen Moore providing support. Rocky Elsom and Radike Samo didn’t contribute enough and Sekope Kepu was disappointing while he was on the field. James Slipper, Rob Simmons and Ben McCalman all contributed when they came on but Tatafu Polota-Nau didn’t contribute much at all.  He still doesn’t appear to be fully fit.

The missed tackle count for Elsom and Samo, particularly in those first 13 minutes, wasn’t good enough. Horwill missed 3 tackles but he countered that with the highest percentage of dominant tackles, closely followed by Vickerman and Pocock.

In the backs Pat McCabe and Anthony Faingaa did the most work, as you’d expect, but Faingaa was well below his best in defence. Berrick Barnes was good when he came on. Digby Ioane carried the ball well but had limited involvement at the breakdown and missed 4 tackles. What James O’Connor did, he did well, but he had limited involvement.

It’s very hard to split my Man Of The Stats between Dan Vickerman and David Pocock, so I won’t.

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

I’ve also posted the statistics for the quarter-final match against the Springboks here and here as I didn’t get time to post last week.

  • Richo

    Great work yet again, Scott.

    Geez, Vickerman had a great game. Second most tackles, breakdown involvements and total involvements… All in just 56 minutes!

    Shows the foolishness in calling for him to be dropped.

  • rugbysinmyblood

    time to go back overseas rocky… hope higgers has a massive game and puts rocky to bed for good.

  • adc

    From that analysis all we need to do to fix the Wallabies forward pack is to poach six more africans.

  • Bay35Pablo

    Genia’s involvement needed to be higher. They targeted him because, ultimately, he is more important than Cooper.

    I’d be interested to see how much of the good Wallaby statistics came in that period leading into the drop goal. Our pick and drive actually seemed to be working, we were slowly getting closer to the try line, the forwards were looking good, and then we popped a drop goal!? My mates and I were flabbergasted. Yes take the points when you can, but we were behind, had enjoyed very little possession, and you don’t beat the ABs by not winning tries. I’m not saying we were certainties, but had we scored it would have been 11-11 ( think from memory) and the game would have had a whole different complexion.

    • Patrick

      since passes aren’t ‘involvement’, I’m not sure we would really want Genia’s involvement to be any higher. Maybe a few more tackles (he’s done for 2) but surely not more breakdowns (2 again) or carries (12)??

      This is just one aspect of stats and stats are just one aspect of the game.

    • Southrules

      Couldn’t have been 11-11 as WBS only scored 6 points and 3 of those was the drop goal you are talking about. Converted try at that time would have made it 10 – 11. I was surprised at how much kicking both sides did. Dagg’s drop goal attempt was a similar thing for the ABs. Also I was surprised when the ABS were up 17 – 6 with 10 minutes to go they didn’t kick for the corner and really apply the pressure. I also think that you guys are being too hard on your boys. The ABs are a good team after all and NZ is a tough place to beat NZ. Eden park one of the toughest. In terms of attack the WBs I thought had as many good plays as NZ. If Digby had of scored on his break it would have made up for the one break NZ got and scored. The main difference was ABs were able to turn poor kicks into good kicks because of their chase game otherwise they would have been in trouble and a few times they were lucky to get out because the WBs made a mistake. I thought only the scrum was really in NZ favor and near the end as the breakdown but for the most part if WBs had of scored a try it would have been all on.

  • Glen

    Yes Vickerman played a great game…. its a bugger he had to leave the ground for the blood rule ! I think he was a major factor in our win over the Abs in oz….. at least he has a bit of mongrel in him!!! The sooner Deans is given the flick the better…..WE need an AUSSIE at the helm…….

  • GoForGold

    Geez Tatafu goes missing doesn’t he.

    Probably just a mental thing after the injury but still, what a fucken joke.

    • Patrick

      I actually wanted someone else given a realistic crack at the team over TPN, perhaps Nathan Charles or even James Hanson. TPN was not looking the goods at any time this year.

      I probably wasn’t alone!

      • The Rant

        for all his talk on form – deans is a sucker for reputation

      • Richo

        TPN was the best hooker in Super Rugby… Until he got injured. He was clearly underdone at the RWC and should never have been taken.

  • Garry

    For all the talk during the last four years on how much better the teams when players like Palu and TPN return, they have not added much. In fact, TPN’s throwing has been poor, (as we can see above) his scrummaging weaker than Moore, and we haven’t seen his Tah’s wrecking ball form around the park replicated in the test arena. This underlines the poor selection policy of choosing players based on reputation instead of form. Coming back from injury, players need to establish match fitness, particularly forwards, and they won’t improve this warming the pine.

    Deans has had plenty of opportunity to experiment and establish players who show potential, if given an opportunity. But he’s wasted the time, and undermined any competition for position, by continuing with average performers, biding his time with rubbish like “things will improve when our front line players return from injury”.

    I haven’t been critical of QC but he must take some of the blame for the backline problems during the finals. He has players outside him who can break a game, but he didn’t give them opportunities they needed. Maybe because he is young, but at time he looked like he was trying to do it all himself, instead of combining with others. This is the benefit of experience, which time will give him. But he hasn’t this problem at the Reds, why here? Is it unfamiliarity of those outside him? I’m with Robson in that the backline needed to change, perhaps Barnsey outside him to take off some of the pressure, and give him time to work into the game. It seemed obvious during the Saffer game that it worked when Barnse came on.

    Oh well Barnsey, there aint no second prize?

    • MattyP

      “Oh well Barnsey, there aint no second prize?”


  • Baz Brown

    Can’t stats be misleading. It’s an interesting analysis but what does “breakdown involvement” mean? Did they do anything at the breakdown? Were they going forward or (as was the case against the AB’s) ‘involved’ in the breakdown but just being driven straight off the ball and contributing little / no defense. Similarly, well done to Slipper for making tackles but learn how to feckin scrum first if you’re going to call yourself a prop. If not, get in the gym and lose 3 stone and become a backrow

  • Chester

    I think these stats highlight how A.Faingaa is a rubbish choice in the centres. He offers nothing in attack but his supporters keep going on about his fantastic defence. Well he missed 3 from 8 tackles with no dominant tackles. One of these missed tackles was in the lead up to the first try and the last break that Dagg made involved a poor read in defence by Faingaa (not sure if this was counted as missed tackle)
    The guy simply should not be playing for the Wallabies.

    • Garry

      I admit to being one of his fans, despite only limited exposure to his Reds 2011 form. And I agree that his Reds form has not ransformed onto the the international arena.

      Why is that?

      After watching Tapuai play for the Aus BaaBaas , how well he combined with non Reds players, did we pick the wrong Red centre? Perhaps he was the one making Fingers look good?

      • mark conley

        Agree 100%, how did Tapuai miss selection???

  • RedMan

    Geez, Pocock is a bit of a work hog isn’t he.

    • Garry

      I get the feeling that the try hard has his eye on the captaincy.

      Some blokes really do take the cake, don’t thtey?.

  • JimmyJames

    Something has be wrong with Polota-Nau? He looks a shadow of the player he was earlier this season. He ordinarily is the stronger scrummager out of him and Moore. He made a big difference against France last year and the Tahs scrum (one of the better scrums in Super Rugby and if not the best scrum of the Aussie teams) was never quite as stronger when he was not on the field.

    In terms of future talent, I would like to see Dan Palmer brought into the Wallabies set up. He scrummed quite well against the Crusaders last year. I think a frontrow of Robinson, Polota-Nau and Palmer could be very effective. They all short, squat frontrower and therefore would compliment each other – very much in the french style.

    Breaking even in the lineout is simply not good enough. It is a traditionally strength of Aussie rugby, atleast in the professional era, and one area we should be able to pressure the Wallabies. They way Vickerman hits ruck is simply awesome, but if Horwill is a given selection in the second row, we need another secondrower who can run (and dominate) the lineout. Unfortunately, Vickerman seems to have lost his lineout mojo.

    • Garry

      Re TPN

      Samson, hair?

    • Patrick

      Nathan Charles too….

  • hannibal

    have we lost some comments? there were 40 here yesterday?

  • Nutta

    My rant:

    I was there at the game. I came in through gate H and sat there in section 262 row A seat 6 and watched the whole train-wreck. It started at the warm-up where Vickers was noticably limping, Tats couldn’t throw a straight lineout and QC was wondering out looking dazed and confused. Compared to the almost frightening focus and intensity on display at the other end of the field it was like watching Primary kids vs High school kids. I knew we were toast then.

    I tried to do my own stats in the magazine we were given. I gave up being diligent but I wanted to track 3 things – positive win of own feed scrums, positive win of own throw lineouts and missed tackles. I gave up on missed tackles at 20min when my count hit 20. One per minute. Fk me. Scrums were 25% for giving positive ball by the end and lineouts, whilst overwhelmingly won, were not won giving positive “front foot” ball

    Regular readers may be aware I’ve ranted time and time again about our weaknesses up front. I’ve lamented the continual infatuation with almost a mungo approach where our development teams pick athletes first and try to turn a couple of fatter/slaggier ones into a 1 or 3. So suprise suprise when we wind up with props who can score tries but can’t scrum. And if you can’t scrum, then you also can’t handle the battery of 2nd shoves at rucks or stamp your stake at defending a lineout.

    Make no bones about it. We were bashed up front. It started and ended there. The rest was just trivia. I’m over ranting about it. Sooner or later WE as the owners of the game – the one’s who buy the fkn merchandise (be it a jumper or a ticket) – must say ENUF of the brain-dead infatuation with the myopic conceit of self-promoting backs and focus on WHO & WHERE the ball is won in the first pace. I can have the fastest, flashest, most withering machine gun ever built but if NO ONE is giving it BULLETS to fire then it’s nothing more then a flash fkn paper-weight.

    Look at NFL. They have this bloke that sits out two wide in the offensive line on the “blind side” of a quarterback. He’s usually called the Left Tackle. Not many folk realise it, but he is also usually the 2nd highest paid bloke in the team. Why? Because he is the bloke most directly responsible for watching the Quarterback’s back and giving him TIME & SPACE to use the ball and make his play. My point is even the dumb-arsed, merchandise-driven, show-boat-loving YANKS get the simple fact that without their play-makers getting time & space to play then they are FUCKED. Yet this bloke – who earns more then EVERYONE else bar 1 will be under-stated, fat-arsed and tucked away in a fairly anonymous offensive line. They don’t pick the bloke who was a bit too slow or too fat to make a running-back to do this job. They spot him early (highschool) and they develop him through specifically to do this job. He ain’t there because he was a fat backrower, or a short lock or because he was No2 somewhere else in the team. He’s recognised and developed to do a specific job from the very start.

    I wonder just how long it will be until we learn the same lesson? We were strong in 83, 91 & 99. As per normal we had solid lineout, good back-rows, a grand backline…the difference was 1/2/3. So stop putting fat backrowers at 1/3. You wear 1 or 3? Your scrum is meat, your lineout is potatoes and being useful around the park is gravy. And whilst I’ve quoted my mad old dad before before I’ll say it again: “You don’t put fkn gravy on the plate first Boy.”

    Enuf said. I’m fkn over it. It’s probably just grief talking but I can’t keep investing my emotion into this fkn fiasco when the solution is so simple. It’s hard, but it’s simple – like most of the big decisions in life. Think I’ll just stick to club rugby from now on – where folk actually understand the value of having fair-dinkum tight players – and save myself the grief because this mob of over-paid fkwits driving our wagon at the national level clearly don’t fkn get it.

    • Austin

      Nutta – I love your description of what props should be doing, which I’ve paraphrased as:

      “Your scrum is meat, your lineout is potatoes and being useful around the park is gravy – remember that you don’t put gravy on the plate first.”

      I’m going to stick that on my office wall.

    • Patrick

      love your contributions here Nutta,and agree entirely.

    • Brumby Jack

      If you went in through Gate H, then what did Richie go through?

  • Hawko

    There is something seriously wrong with TPN. If he’s injured, he shouldn’t be playing, except that our third choice is a lightweight seven who can’t push butter on bread. But TPN is a brute of a scrummager as his work with the Waratahs has shown. At top form he is a better scrummager than Moore. So why is he now so ineffective? There is something wrong that’s not being talked about, but in my view we won’t really know until he’s had an off-season and we see him in next year’s Super comp

  • Nutta

    Cheers Austin. That’s a nice thing to say! The old man would be stoked. And a nod to you and your mates too for your work on this site.

    I’ll give an interesting follow up. I come from a family of front-rowers. All my brothers and I play/ed up-front. My eldest brother has a 15yr old son. He’d be 5ft 11in, a natural 110kg and his Da and I have taken an avid interest in his development. He made an ACT U17’s and went to a carnival in WA just a fortnight ago. I was conveniently in town and conveniently had a clear calendar to go watch him play. One of the games there he finished up propping against some 19yr old monster in the Force development squad. And four interesting things happened:

    1. Even allowing for the pansy manner that school-kids have to scrum, my nephew fairly demolished this bloke who was 3yrs older and a solid 15-20kg heavier at both scrum and lineout

    2. My nephews own coach yanked him at half time because he wanted “more ball play” from his front row

    3. The fat back-rower who went on in his place had ball skills but was getting monstered in tight so 10min later my nephew was back out there

    4. I had a polite chat with the WA “monster” after the game. He had no idea who I was and I made no mention that he was just chewed up by a kid 3yrs younger and 20kgs lighter. I found out he was indeed a 1st year front-rower after coming out of the (you guessed it) back-row

    Those four simple things sum up my entire frustration. A technically great proper-fronty was all over a bloke older/bigger/stronger but got pulled because he wasn’t a dancer and the whole while the older guy is supposed to be a “shining light” in a development squad when he just got munched by a kid with decent technique? And even so, the coaching know-it-alls still yanked the young fella for “more ball play”?!?!? WTF?!?!?!?

    You tell me what’s wrong with this picture…

    • Robson

      What’s wrong with this picture is that it’s a mirror image of Robbie Dean’s front row know how.

      You never see the Franks brothers dancing in the limelight although the Myth is known to be a bit of an extra man on the wing. However he can be forgiven for that because he does get the bizzo done at scrum time – or he used to.

      My understanding is that the Wallaby pack was one of the heaviest in the RWC, certainly heavier than the ABs who caused the WBs all kinds of grief in the latter stages of their semi final match up. There has been some technique improvement in the scrummaging of some individuals, but only slight. I could go on forevever about individual performances, but there is on thing that is abundantly clear. Weight advantage and all, the Wallabies still have to learn about the co-ordinated eight man shove. Currenty it’s non existant. They are not scrummaging as a cohesive unit and if they were they have the power and weight to just about demolish any other pack including the Boks.

All Blacks

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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