The Total Ruck Involvement statistics for Round 2 show similar approaches by 4 of the Aussie teams but a markedly different approach by the Waratahs.
The Waratahs Total Ruck Involvements were only 71% of the Brumbies. This can only be partly explained by the 2 Yellow Cards in the first half (Skelton & Dennis) and undoubtedly effected by the numerous early penalties. It’s likely that this low level of ruck involvement was part of the original game plan to try and keep the game open and counter the strength of the Brumbies Back Row.
It took a 3:42 score line against the Bulls, and a 30% increase in Ruck Involvements in the second half, for the Rebels to match the Ruck Involvements of the other Aussie teams.
I’m interested to see what changes we see once the Aussies start competing against the International team
The distribution of Defence Ruck Involvements shows the different approaches of the Aussie teams
The Force Front Row showed a marked improvement in involvement.
The Waratahs Front and Back Rows showed least involvement and were covered by Locks and Backs stepping up. Work by Waratahs Backs reflects the two first half YCs and Brumbies dominance of Possession and Territory.
The Reds Locks more involved than Force counterparts.
Another big effort by the Brumbies Back Row.
The Rebels Back Row worked hard to counter the rampaging Bulls.
As good as it gets by the Brumbies.
Brumbies effort matched by the Western Force with a marked improvement over last week’s 87%.
The Force gained from the Reds’ fumblings (20 Handling Errors) and their own (15 HEs) almost 50% reduction from last week’s 28 HEs.
BRUMBIES V WARATAHS
It’s not often that we see such dominance in Ruck Involvements by one Aussie team over another.
Does this reflect the original Waratah’s game plan or is it the result of the numerous early penalties, the 1 YCs in the 1st Half and the Brumbies 70% Possession and Territory in the 1st Half (62% P/60% T over game)? Possession, Territory and Penalties were fairly even in the 2nd Half..
The Brumbies Back Row had 50% more Ruck Involvements than the Waratahs Boack Row. The Waratahs were standing off most Defence Rucks. The Brumbies’ Back Row earned 3 Turn Overs Won (TOW) from their 38 Defence Ruck Involvements; the Waratahs earned 1 TOW from 17 DRIs.
The Waratahs Backs almost matched the Ruck Involvement of their Brumbies counterparts . The Brumbies Backs earned 2 TOW from their 13 DRIs; the Waratahs Backs earned 1 TOW from their 27 DRIs.
Ruck Involvements by Forwards
1. Early means 1st or 2nd of player’s team AFTER the ball carrier has been tackled and brought to ground.
2. Impact means active engagement: strong physical contact, changed shape of ruck, clean-out, protecting ball etc. (more than hand on someone’s bum or arriving after the hard work has been done). Yes it’s subjective – but as I collect all data at least it’s consistent.
3. Impact DOES NOT equate to Effectiveness. I’ve concluded that coming up with an effectiveness measure is just too hard in the time that I have available – but open to suggestions.
Ruck Involvements Over Time
Incredibly subdued Ruck Involvements by the Waratahs in the opening 10 minutes.
The Brumbies took full advantage of the 4 early Penalties and the YC to Skelton but struggled to turn this dominance to points on the score board.
The Brumbies matched or out-rucked the Waratahs at every stage of the game.
The Brumbies replacements maintained the Ruck Involvement pressure.
The Ruck Involvements suggest that the Waratahs were fortunate to be level on the scoreboard at half-time, and to be still close at 68 minutes.
Scott Sio is obviously still recovering from his RWC elbow injury. In 2015 he averaged 20 Ruck Involvements and 5 tackles per 80 minutes. Compared to this 11 RIs and 2 tackles/80 mins..
TOP 10 AUSSIES FOR RUCK INVOLVEMENTS FROM ROUND 2
Not surprisingly, the list is dominated by Back Row players.
David Pocock close to his 2015 average (44).
Matt Hodgson’s 1Turn Over Won per 4 Defensive Ruck Involvements an impressive effort.
Even split between Winners and Losers.