Last weekend, Ireland perfectly demonstrated the new attacking strategy Six Nations teams are adopting in 2022, according to data uncovered by business insurer QBE’s unique Risk & Reward Index.
Interrogation of data from the opening game shows Ireland played with a willingness to take risks. By holding on to the ball and playing wide attacking rugby Ireland employed a riskier strategy compared to their tactics in the 2021 Six Nations. As a result, they made more handling errors against Wales (12) than any team averaged in the 2021 tournament but were rewarded with four tries and a bonus-point victory to kickstart their campaign. The Risk & Reward Index also identified discipline as a key deciding factor and Ireland only conceded 6 penalties in the match (the lowest average last year was 9.4); the risks they took in attack were balanced out by their discipline and efficiency.
The impressive statistics in attack further highlight the success of the new attacking strategy. Ireland dominated, making more carries, metres and line breaks than any team averaged last year, with 148 carries (Scotland topped the 2021 charts with an average of 138), 1028.7 metres (Scotland were top with 835.3) and 9 line breaks. In the 2021 Championship Ireland topped the passing charts making an average of 174 per match, last weekend against Wales they far exceeded this number – passing the ball 238 times. In line with QBE’s strategic blueprint, Ireland also kicked the ball less than any team in 2021; only 5.7% of possession was kicked away.
The QBE Risk & Reward Index also identified the importance of the set piece in last year’s tournament; 60% of all tries scored had their origin at a set piece (46% off lineout and 14% off scrum). Ireland continued this trend against Wales, boasting a 100% record at both scrum and lineout. All four of the tries were scored by backs but the forwards provided the platform for success. The old adage in rugby rang true; forwards win matches and backs decide by how much.
Ireland travel to France this weekend for what could be an early Championship decider. The French swept aside Italy in a five-try win and were second only to Ireland in carries and metres last weekend. The match should be an attacking fest with both teams looking to play with the ball in hand.
Lawrence Dallaglio, QBE Ambassador comments: “Ireland showed that moving away from the dull cycle of rugby with lots of kicking and defensive tactics and embracing an attacking style of rugby can lead to success. From the first minute they were unafraid to spread the ball wide and take risks, holding on to the ball and kicking far less than in previous Six Nations. This strategy is one we have seen in the Premiership and URC this season and it is refreshing to see it being replicated on the international stage. France also played some delightful rugby once they got into the higher gears against Italy and I am very much looking forward to the match in Paris on Saturday which could very well be an early Championship decider.”
For further information contact:
• Sandra Villanueva, Corporate Communications, QBE, 020 7105 5284, Sandra.firstname.lastname@example.org
• Charlie Bohan-Hurst, Jefferson Communications, 07847 015225,
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