Six Nations Diary - Round two

Posted 19th February 2019

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Opta's rugby experts analyse how England romped to victory against France

Our editorial team are experts at creating stories from Opta's detailed rugby data. Throughout the Six Nations we’ll be taking a look at one of the key matches from each round and – from a statistical viewpoint – dissecting where the game was won and lost Check out our Six Nations diary entry from round one of the competition here. Get in touch here to learn how we can help you bring your rugby coverage to life with quality data and insightful content.

Round Two

Round 2 of this year’s Six Nations arguably didn’t provide quite as much drama as the opening weekend, however each fixture had its own intrigue, perhaps none more so than England’s big win against France.

Against Ireland Eddie Jones’ side fronted up defensively and nullified Ireland’s keep-ball tactics, crossing the whitewash themselves with selective strike plays, but they mixed up their game plan against France. England’s blueprint for the game became evident as soon as France turned the ball over in the opening minute, Elliot Daly identifying the space in behind Les Bleus’ line and playing a perfectly weighted kick through for Jonny May to open the scoring.



Kicking from hand

In total, England kicked from hand on 47 occasions against France, their most in a Test match since the beginning of 2010/11 – in fact, it was the highest tally by any Tier 1 team in that time, surpassing Ireland’s total of 46 kicks against Wales during the 2011 Six Nations. 




Statistically, England assisted two of their tries from kicks, however all bar one of their tries involved putting boot to ball at some stage in the build-up, as they constantly forced the French defence to turn around. This in turn affected Les Bleus’ ability to use a blitz defence and meant that when England did opt to keep the ball in hand they were able to gain ground more effectively. Eddie Jones’ side managed to cross the gainline with just over 60% of their carries (excluding carries where no gainline exists), their best rate in any Test match for two years (72% v Italy in February 2017).



Will it work in Cardiff?

England’s plan worked to perfection against France but next they will face a confident Welsh side who will be aiming for a record 12th straight Test victory; what approach will Eddie Jones’ men take when they step out onto the pitch in Cardiff on Saturday?



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