So far in the 2010 season the Wallabies have given up possession 60 times (an average of 15 times per game) though forward passes, dropped ball, getting bundled into touch or chip & grubber kicks that have gone wrong. That’s 30% of the times they’ve started a possession sequence.
When you watch the video you’ll see that a large number of these errors are really basic and shouldn’t be made by international players. Having done so much of the hard work to get possession the Wallabies have been wasting far too much ball.
I’ve added some more numbers below in answer to questions raised by readers which provide some further detail.
Some will point out that the Wallaby coaching staff don’t have a lot of time with the players to work on basic skills such as handling but lifting the standards in this area would have a more immediate effect on results than most other areas.
Add in turnovers at the breakdown and the total possession given up by the Wallabies reaches 36%. Those numbers include a season high of 55% against England in Perth and a season low of 26% against England in Sydney.
In the first game of the Tri Nations, New Zealand lost possession 28% of the times they had possession and 38% including breakdown turnovers. South Africa’s numbers were 15% lost possession and 30% including breakdown turnovers. The high rate of lost possession by the All Blacks was the only thing that stopped them racking up a much bigger score line.
The other thing that’s noticeable from the video is how many times the Wallabies have wasted really good attacking opportunities through poor ball retention. Eliminate just some of those basic errors each game and the Wallabies results in 2010 so far would have looked very different.
If the Wallabies are planning to keep the ball in hand against the Springboks next weekend as the Reds did this season against the Bulls and the All Blacks did against the Springboks at Eden Park, they’ll have to dramatically improve their ball retention because that game plan will sink pretty quickly if they keep giving the ball back to the opposition so easily.
25% of the Wallabies lost possession from forwards – 75% from the backs.
37% of the Wallabies lost possession was forced and 63% unforced.
57% of the Wallabies possession lost was from dropped ball with 44% of that forced in contact and 56% unforced. The rest of the possession lost was fairly even between forward pass, poor pass, pushed pass, being bundled into touch and poor grubber kicks.
32% of the possession lost occurred in the first 20 mins of the games;
23% occurred in the second 20 mins of the games;
22% occurred in the third 20 mins of games;
23% occurred in the final 20 mins of games.
Those numbers don’t support fatigue being the biggest cause of the errors as the most problems occur in the first 20 minutes. That presents a whole different set of questions foe the coaches.
We don’t have the same range of measurements for Super 14 but what we do have for both Super 14 and the Wallabies in 2010 are number of attacking breakdowns and number of errors (both forced and unforced). That at least gives us a consistent measurement against the amount of attacking each side was doing.
In the 2010 Super 14 the Waratahs made 287 errors (avg of 22 per game) which represented 10% against the number of attacking breakdowns. The Reds made 282 errors (avg of 22 per game) which represented 9%. The Brumbies made 316 errors (avg of 24 per game) which represented 11% and the Force made 313 errors (avg of 24 per game) which represented 11%.
Last Saturday the All Blacks made 14 errors which represented 12% of attacking breakdowns whilst the Springboks made 7 errors which represented 9% of attacking breakdowns.
So far in 2010 the Wallabies have made 60 errors (avg of 15 per game)which represented 17% of attacking breakdowns!!!