Rugby World Cup: Team stats point to one clear title favourite

Dylan Coetzee
Split with Italy celebrating, Bundee Aki (Ireland) and Wales players

Split with Italy celebrating, Bundee Aki (Ireland) and Wales players

The Rugby World Cup is already heading into the fourth week of action as the pool stage begins to wind down in France.

But before we get there, Planet Rugby unpacks which team has performed the best across various facets of the game.

Ruck speed

Ireland has had the fastest ball from rucks all tournament long as they averaged under three seconds in their first two games. This slowed down to 4.83 seconds against the Springboks.

It turned out that Italy had the quickest ball of the weekend as they managed 3.19 seconds in their comfortable win over Uruguay. Kieran Crowley will be hoping for more of the same in their crunch match against the All Blacks on Friday.

Red zone efficiency

It is one thing to enter the red zone but that counts for little if the team does not capitalise. Despite going down to Scotland it was Tonga who averaged 2.5 points from their five entries into the 22m area.

This was a great return per entry but the Pacific side did not enter the red zone enough to make it count against a busy Scottish side. However, they average 4.9 overall as the best in the competition.

Line breaks, defenders beaten, carries and metres made

The world’s top side was limited on attack by a strong Springboks defence as Andy Farrell’s team managed four clean breaks on the night.

That number is relatively low compared to their first two Tests but keeps them at the top of the pile with a grand total of 32 line breaks so far in France. A remarkable statistic underlining the accuracy the team is operating with at the moment.

Similarly is their ability to beat defenders – an area of the game they also lead with a total of 95 in the World Cup so far. Add to that the highest total carries at 389 and the most metres at 1,869 then it is clear to see why Ireland are favourites for the title.

Tackles made and success rate

Wales still holds the lead for the most tackles made during the tournament with 505. It is interesting to note that it took two games to reach their total from their opener against Fiji where the side broke a record by completing 252 tackles.

Warren Gatland will be very happy with his team’s efforts so far, particularly after a record win against the Wallabies last weekend.

In terms of tackle success Italy lead the way with an impressive 91% success so far – a complimentary statistic for the hard-working Azzurri.

Penalties conceded

Especially in the modern game, it is ever so important to maintain discipline or it could be costly. The Brave Blossoms of Japan lead the way with only 14 penalties conceded. However, it must be noted the side has only played two games so far.

READ MORE: Rugby World Cup: The best and worst performing goal kickers and their stats