2024 Six Nations statistics: Numbers expose England’s inefficient attack

Dylan Coetzee
Freddie Steward on the charge for England against Italy.

Freddie Steward on the charge for England against Italy.

The team statistics from the opening round of the 2024 Six Nations reveal several interesting trends including England’s faltering attack.

Ahead of Round Two, Planet Rugby takes a look at the team numbers from last weekend.

England attack

The Red Rose may have scored the second most points (27) in Round One but that was predominantly from the boot of George Ford who ended up with a 17-point haul against Italy. Outside of that, there are concerns for England going forward.

Steve Borthwick’s side dominated several attacking categories but could not convert. England had the fastest ruck speed at the weekend with 54.08% of their breakdowns being completed in three seconds or less. In addition to that, the side had the second most attacking 22-metre entries with nine (equal with Ireland) but had the worst points per entry at just two. Comparing that to Ireland’s 4.22 it’s clear that England’s attack is lacking confidence.

It is a lingering concern for Borthwick although his game plan does not revolve around ruthless attack. However, there is clearly an opportunity to make more of their chances.

France set-piece

It was a miserable first game for Les Bleus who went down 38-17 to title rivals Ireland after being outplayed in most facets of the game. One area France did have success in was their scrum which finished at a 100% win rate. Italy (85.71%) and Wales (75%) were the only other teams who finished with a 75% scrum win rate or better at the weekend.

France’s line-out was not perfect with Ireland stealing two but they did manage the most takes with 14 – the same number Wales hit in a losing cause against Scotland.

Ruthless Ireland

Converse to England, the defending champions, Ireland, were sensational going forward, scoring the most points (38) and the most tries (5) last weekend as they blew France out of the water. Andy Farrell’s men were clinical with the best conversion of 22-metre entries at 4.22 points.

To get to the win they disrupted the breakdown with three steals, the highest of the round alongside Wales – all of which were made by Tommy Reffell. Once they did get the ball in hand they topped the linebreak charts with six, sharing the number with Italy and Wales.

The biggest point of concern is their scrum operating at only 62.5%, albeit against the best scrum in the tournament.

Tactical kicking Scotland

Interestingly, the Scots easily topped the kicks in play category with 38 in total, five more than the next placed side. This was undoubtedly led by Finn Russell at the weekend who would have heavily contributed to the round-high 10 offloads as well. The fly-half also kept 100% off the tee.

Grinding Wales

It may well have been the worst first half Warren Gatland has seen in his coaching career for Wales but their overall performance did not lack effort as his team did really well in the categories based around work rate.

The side led carries (140), metres carried (769.8) tackle success (92.31%) and attacking ruck arrivals (259) in the opening round.

Wales may lack experience but they are certainly not lacking effort and that will be required in bucket loads against England this weekend.

READ MORE: Stats show Finn Russell and George Ford’s influence in Six Nations opening round