Statistics: Wallabies v. Italy - Green and Gold Rugby

Statistics: Wallabies v. Italy

Statistics: Wallabies v. Italy

The defence numbers for the Wallabies in their game against Italy look impressive: 94 per cent of tackles completed — their best result for the year — and 29 per cent of tackles were dominant, equalling their second-best performance of the year.

Improved organisation and more aggressiveness resulted in only eight tackles being missed! Of course we need to keep in mind that Italy didn’t ask too many questions in attack and the Wallabies had a mountain of possession.

There was however one major issue with the Wallabies defence and yes, it’s Quade Cooper again. What issue, I can hear you saying — and that’s exactly the point! How does a player go from having a less-than 50 per cent success rate in the first three games he’s played on tour, to a 100 per cent success rate this week — and make a dominant tackle?  I’ll post a video analysis on this issue later in the week but for now all I want to say is: well done Quade and well done Phil Blake — I hope you keep it up against France.

While we’re on defence, David Pocock once again topped the tackle count despite being replaced in the second half, but this week he had some help, with Rocky Elsom sharing top billing and the debutant starting players James Slipper and Rob Simmons not far behind. In fact, the whole pack shared the workload and was solid in defence, with Ben McCalman being the only forward to miss a tackle.  The back three weren’t called on to do a lot of work in defence and our centres, Berrick Barnes and Adam Ashley-Cooper, accounted for 50 per cent of the team’s missed tackles between them.

Despite the scrum issues, that last Italian scrum where Rocky picked the ball up meant that the Wallabies ended with a better success rate (83 per cent) compared to the Italians (80 per cent). The Wallabies were much stronger in the lineout with an 83 per cent success rate against 64 per cent for Italy; however, we need TPN to work hard on his throwing this week, as he looked very rusty when he came on. His first throw was a shocker and while he got away with his second, it wasn’t straight either.

The Wallabies enjoyed a big possession advantage — 42 possessions compared to 34 for Italy and taking the ball into 91 breakdowns against Italy’s 67 — but did very little with that advantage, with only three line breaks to Italy’s one.  I know the field was narrow, but for me the real issue was a lack of respect for the ball. There were too many 50/50 balls thrown and some poor handling. The Wallabies need to show more composure with the ball in hand — sometimes the best option is to hold onto the ball, take it into contact, and focus on retaining possession for extended periods to wear the opposition down.

One final area I’ll make comment on is the continuing inaccuracy of our kicking in general play. Of the 17 times the Wallabies kicked to end possession, I consider eight of them to be poor kicks. Of those, three were poor because they were kicked from within the 22 but the kicker failed to find the line (two from Cooper and one from Beale). This is one of the basics of the game — you don’t want to give the opposition opportunities to counter-attack, particularly when you’re on top at the lineouts!

When you combine the eight poor kicks with the 12 times the Wallabies lost possession, that’s nearly 50 per cent of their possession wasted. Without improvement in these areas, the Wallabies will be relying on their goal kicker far too often to get results going their way.

Click on the respective buttons below to download the Team Statistics and the Player Statistics.

  • Pedro

    Wow, 7/7 tackles for Quooper, it was against Italy, but still.

  • Joe Blow

    Yes, Excellent work QC………….well done!
    This was a good run out before France as they play a similar game in the forwards.

  • Garry

    QC not only has a bad rep for defense, but lately his kicking in general play is rusty?

  • Newter

    Rob Simmons, 10 tackles and 4 of them dominant.
    Has Chisholm made a single dominant tackle all season?

    • Groucho

      Yes thats a fantastic result for Simmons.

    • Thomas

      Chisholm drove John Smit back in a great tackle in bloemfontein but most games yes he didn’t do to much

  • Homer J

    Good to see Simmons and Slipper making an impact in defense. A few more carries to help Sharpie would be good but not a bad effort from the youngsters.

    How many tackles did Maafu make in the whole tri-nations?

    With Slipper playing so well Laurie Weekes is thanking Jebus that he took the Rebels offer otherwise he would be sitting on the bench all year at best.

    • The Rant

      to be fair – tackling was the only thing mafu did do very well.

      • Thomas

        In one game he only made 1 tackle in half a game

        • The Rant

          just means they didnt try to run over him next to the ruck – his predatorial waters – 50cm either side and your safe :)

  • Ruggo.

    Got to back it up this week Quade. Well done though.

  • Muffy

    The stats dont make bad reading at all! The Cock is definatly sore, he normaly has far more carries as the second reciver off the ruck (when not at the bottom of one!) Must be knackered from carrying the pack all those games :)

    Hope they got him a long legged french girl to rub him down this week and excused him from training

    • Garry

      The Cock’s making all the tackles, most of the turnovers, and also making carries.

      What is the tight five doing?

  • Hambone

    “How does a player [QC] go from having a less-than 50 per cent success rate in the first three games he’s played on tour, to a 100 per cent success rate this week — and make a dominant tackle?”

    I gave him heaps of shit on Twitter during the week. That’s how.

    And you’re welcome.

  • Pedro

    Maafu made heaps of tackles, it was the one area he was good at.

  • murph

    I see McCalman did a bit more work but still missed a fifth of his tackles. But hey, “he’s only young blah blah blah”…

  • piggies7

    if higginbotham doesn’t make his debut against france, i will eat my fucking hat.

    • Garry

      Dingo – “Hold onto your hat, I’m passing the sauce”

      • murph

        You beat me to it

        • redbull

          yep, you’re fucked piggies7, try and get a small hat.
          I am baffled that Higgers hasn’t had a run, can’t see how it do any harm, and it took ages for us to see Hodgson. I think NH tours get confused between trying to develop a squad and trying to win everything in sight. Why fly JOC back from Oz for one game? Is there really not enough wingers hanging around? I rate him as an impact player but he is hardly irreplaceable. Would rather have lost the games we have with some of the fringe players in the squad to see how they measured up. Can’t see that we have learned much about the various players from this tour.
          There needs to be a focus for the tour, either win everything with the same team, or try different combinations, and players, each week….and we were never in a position to win everything with four or five first-picks on the injured list.

        • Garry


          Nail on the head.

          This close out to the WC, we needed to have better defined strategy. It feels like we’ve wasted the time of the touring Nth Hem tour, by sticking with under performers, and now this tour is also looking shaky.

          One positive to come out of it was our shortcoming were highlighted, and we may still have time to correct them. the front row’s gained invaluable experience, and now know what to expect next year. Can they step up?

          The shortcomings of our coaching staff however, over time have proved that they can’t be corrected. Amputation maybe the only cure.

    • rugbyinmyblood

      i agree put higgers in the guy is a freak an athlete of the highest calibre. All the people who thought he under performed mid week obviously were not watching the same game as me although he didnt over whelm any one who did in those games? Put him with will and Q and watch him go to work.

  • Andrew


    Slipper seems to make a defensive impact every time he comes on. Can you do a “tackles per minute” stat to compare his output on this tour with the other front rowers?

    Although Quade was better, there was one moment where he was coming across in cover to tackle Parrise. Luckily the play was called back for (I think) a knock on), because Quade had closed his eyes and thrown himself at the big man’s feet. A brave but futile attempt!


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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