Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
Who has been the most dominating team thus far? If you answered current World Series leaders, England, you’d be wrong. While they lead the series in the standings, they have been far from dominant having lost three games and relying on a big Day 2 push in Dubai and George. It’s not all bad though, as England has dominated restarts like no other team this season and two of their losses came to New Zealand.
Speaking of, New Zealand has been the most dominant team thus far this season. With only one loss (to England) New Zealand has scored the most tries of any team on the circuit and given up the least. Talk about a double whammy!
Big action! There were a combined 515 tries scored in Dubai and George. This averaged out to a try scored every 75 seconds. New Zealand averages a try scored every 51 seconds. The USA is in 10th place as they average a try scored every 82 seconds.
South Africa’s Cecil Afrika leads the World Series in total points and tries with 127 points and 17 tries.
Was there something in the water in George? After only three yellow cards in Dubai, nine yellow cards and one red card were handed out in George.
Set pieces are close to the all-time average with an average of four scrums and two lineouts per game.
Teams are averaging 5.6 penalties per game and it is a no-brainer that staying out of penalty trouble is a recipe for success. Penalties/Free kicks are the most reliable source of tries so far this season, as 31% of all tries scored so far this season have come off of penalties/free kicks.
Who needs a ruck? As a reminder of the fast pace and explosive scoring in 7’s, 54% of all tries scored in Dubai and George were not preceded by a ruck or maul.
Pin them deep at your own risk. Zimbabwe is a team to watch down the road. They showed very well in Dubai and George and showed the ability to build scores as 62% of the tries they scored originated in their own half.
Fuel for the fire. If you had a chance to read the editorial on the need for a change to the time keeping in 7’s, then this fact should help drive home the point. During the first two stops on the World Series this season, the ball was in play only 52% of the time (7 minutes and 18 seconds). What happened to the other almost 7 minutes? Some can be chalked up to the four scrums and two lineouts per game, but that might account for a combined two minutes… tops! That means almost five minutes of each game is being wasted during the try/conversion/restart phase. This needs fixed.
Here’s a look at some USA-centric fun facts from the first two stops on the 2010/2011 HSBC World Series.
Striking fast! The USA is currently 1st on the World Series in strike rate. The USA has scored 64% of their tries with less than three passes made. They are also near the top of the leader board with 57% of their tries being scored without being preceded by a ruck or maul.
Please go through the uprights!?! The USA is near the bottom of the board in conversion success with only 50% of their tries converted. Scotland leads the series with a 83% conversion rate.
The USA averages a try scored every 82 seconds while they are yielding a try every 57 seconds.
Team USA has done well with time of possession as they are near the top of the leaders averaging almost 4 minutes of possession each game.
Team USA is one of three teams (England & Portugal being the others) that have retained 100% of their own scrums. Lineouts have not gone nearly as well for the USA as they have only retained 67% on their own throws.
Showing some discipline, Team USA is one of only eight teams that have been awarded more penalties (26) than they have conceded (22).
More fun facts to come as the series progresses to the next two stops… Wellington, New Zealand and Las Vegas!!!!