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Ireland - 2022 Year in Review

  • 07-12-2022 8:35pm
    Posts: 0

    I had a look at the 11 games Ireland played in 2022 to see if there were any interesting stats or observations jumping out.

    Firstly, on a team level:

    ·        We outscored the 11 opponents by 127 points, but largely helped by blowout wins early in the year v Wales, Italy, England & Scotland.

    ·        Our scrum success rate over the course of the year was 89% (opponents 84%), lineout success rate 91% (opponents 85%) and our ruck success rate was 96% (opponents 95%).

    ·        Overall we shaded both possession and territory, with c. 52% possession over the 11 games, and 56% territory. There were some outliers in there though skewing the numbers – we had 60% possession versus both England & Wales. Over the NZ series we averaged 49% and had the same number over the November series.

    ·        While we carried for 916m more than our opponents, on a metres per carry basis we were only marginally better (3.4m versus 3.3m), which really illustrates the war of the trenches attritional nature of modern rugby.

    ·        We kicked the ball slightly more than our opponents (272 v 258), had more clean breaks (57 v 44) and more offloads (78 v 68).

    ·        Our tackle success rate was 88%, directly in line with our opponents (also 88%). We averaged 90% for the 6N, 89% for the NZ Series and 85% for the November series (with an appalling 79% v Fiji). 



  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Player Stats:

    ·        We used 45 players over the course of the season, of which 34 players played more than 80 mins of rugby. 6 players played less than 40 mins of rugby, with 2 (Ross Byrne & Jack Carty) receiving less than 10 mins.

    ·        6 players (Beirne, Doris, Gibson Park, Furlong, Sheehan and Conan) were involved in all 11 games, with Beirne, Doris and Furlong starting all 11. Another 4 players were involved in 10 games.

    ·        Tadhg Beirne & Caelan Doris were flogged this year – Beirne played 802 of a possible 880 minutes (91%), Doris 797 of 880 (90%), and JVDF also played 88% of all possible minutes. 8 players played in excess of 75% of all possible minutes.

    ·        Back three players unsurprisingly led the metres carried stats (Hugo Keenan 512m, James Lowe 471m and Mack Hansen 439m), with Caelan Doris next at 317m. On an average carry basis, excluding players who played <80 minutes, James Lowe is the leader at 7.5m per carry, ahead of Jimmy O’Brien (6.8m per carry), Mack Hansen (6.1) and Hugo Keenan (5.7). Worst carrying stats of players with at least 30 carries is Tadhg Furlong (1m per carry), Kieran Treadwell (1.7m) and James Ryan (1.9m).

    ·        Caelan Doris led the way in terms of turnovers won (12) ahead of Beirne (10) and O’Mahony and Porter next, both on 6. 

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Player Stats 2 (last of initial post)

    ·        JVDF and Bundee were joint top try scorers with 4 tries.

    ·        Garry Ringrose beat the most defenders (20), ahead of Doris (15), Sheehan (14) and Hansen & Lowe (both 13). Mack Hansen had most clean breaks (8) ahead of James Lowe (7), with next a glut of players on 4. Mack also had the most offloads (13), more than twice as many as Jonathan Sexton in second (6).

    ·        James Ryan led in stolen lineouts (5), ahead of Beirne (3) and a glut of players on 1 each.

    ·        Andrew Porter had the poorest discipline, conceded 12 penalties, with James Ryan and Tadhg Beirne next on 10 each.

    ·        Joey Carbery led the kicking stats with 79%, ahead of Sexton on 74%. Obviously Ross Byrne & Crowley were both 100%, but with small sample sizes.

    ·        Finally, Josh van der Flier led Caelan Doris in total tackles, with 169 ahead of Doris’ 147. Big gap to Tadhg Beirne in third with 108.

    ·        James Ryan was the best tackler in terms of tackle % of players who played at least 80 mins of rugby, with 97% success rate across 93 tackles, just ahead of Caelan Doris (96% on 147 tackles) and Andrew Porter (96% on 73 tackles). Worst tacklers stats for players who played at least 80 mins were Robert Baloucoune (50% on 10 tackles) and Andrew Conway (67% on 12 tackles).

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    We were very fortunate with injuries, and we relied heavily on our core players who racked up a lot of minutes this year.

    We performed (obviously) very well, and had a multitude of players who had exceptionally strong years.

    I think there is a strong argument to be made that despite JVDF's World Player of the Year award that Caelan Doris was our best player in 2022. He started every game, second most minutes overall, most metres carried outside of back three players (4th highest overall), most turnovers won, second most defenders beaten, and second highest number of tackles, with an astounding 96% success rate in those tackles.

    Outside of the statistics, he had eye-catching man of the match performances in the crucial win in NZ and against Australia at the end of the season. He had a phenomenal year.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,806 ✭✭✭leakyboots

    Great research, fair play

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,149 ✭✭✭crisco10

    Great read, thanks for the research! Mad that Doris had more turnovers than Beirne, both having played a similar number of minutes. Anecdotally, I'd say most would assume that Beirne would be miles ahead on that one (or at least number 1).

    again anecdotally, I suspect Doris gave away more penalties than Beirne winning said turnovers.

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I'm not sure on what they specifically conceded their penalties for, but Beirne conceded 10 penalties (joint second most of all players). Don't have the stats in front of me right now, but will pull out the number for Doris later on.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,682 ✭✭✭Dubinusa

    How many players were blooded? I can think of Loughman and JOB.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Over the course of 2022 he gave debuts to Mack Hansen (Wales), Michael Lowry (Italy), Jimmy O'Brien (South Africa), Jeremy Loughman (Fiji), Jack Crowley (Fiji), Cian Prendergast (Fiji) and Joe McCarthy (Australia).

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,632 ✭✭✭ionadnapokot

    JvdF and Aki top try scorers:

    My impression is that Ireland struggled off their set piece attack this Nov. They were very reliant on Lineout maul to setup and score tries.

    Do you have a breakdown of tries scored for the year? e.g. Set piece v Phase play and turnovers

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 14,599 Mod ✭✭✭✭CIARAN_BOYLE

    It really felt like all of Beirne's turnovers were at key moments in key areas of the field which make them memorable.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,149 ✭✭✭crisco10

    Exactly, 3 in about 5 minutes of the final NZ test come to mind. (although one of them wasn't a turnover per se, he just invited the neck roll by competing)

  • Subscribers Posts: 40,565 ✭✭✭✭sydthebeat

    theres a lot to be said for that blue scrum cap !

    its easy in a game to mistake Ryan and Doris for each other as they have similar build and wear that black scum cap

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,920 ✭✭✭✭stephen_n

    The stats on Doris are very interesting in the context of the criticism and clamour to have him dropped after the first test in NZ. As he was having such a poor season, supposedly.

  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 34,794 Mod ✭✭✭✭pickarooney

    All the Doris criticism related to his handling errors. Are there any stats as to who knocked the ball on the most? Considering his amount of involvement in every aspect of the game it would be understandable and forgivable if Doris was high up that list.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    There is a stat for Turnovers Lost - but it's not crystal clear what it comprises. It seems to be a combination of a multitude of things including handling errors, loose kicks (which result in possession transferring) and finally getting turned over at the ruck in possession.

    On that count, Mack Hansen (unusually) is by far in front, on 21. Second is Tadhg Beirne on 13, followed by JGP on 12 and then three players (Doris, Ringrose & Keenan) all on 11.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,876 ✭✭✭✭Interested Observer

    Doris' stats should be illegal. He is ridiculously good at rugby.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,514 ✭✭✭downtheroad

    Another year without properly trialling a back up to Sexton, going into a world cup where he will be heavily targeted and our game plan revolves far too heavily around him.

    All those stats are lovely, but a 2023 World Cup quarter final exit due to poor planning cannot be overlooked by great statistics from 2022.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,214 ✭✭✭Former Former Former

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,494 ✭✭✭arsebiscuits1

    Against my better judgement engaging with posters like you........ just jog on mate.

    It's nearly Christmas, would it kill you to show an iota of positivity at least for December?? If not for yourself than your loved ones? (assuming a person like you can possibly have any)

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,494 ✭✭✭arsebiscuits1

    Turnovers lost is a funny one at least in the context of Irish rugby that's skewed against back 3 players.

    To the best I can figure out chip and chase kicks are considered contestables so every one that is not regathered is considered a turnover. This is different to clearance kicks which a loss in possession is obviously expected. Where as the ol chip down the wing is a low percentage play but still considered a turnover when lost.

    Similarly getting a hand to a high ball/ box kick and the team not retaining possession is considered a turnover also.

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    FWIW as well, Joey Carbery got 264 minutes for Ireland last year, playing in 10 of 11 possible tests. Jack Crowley also got 106 minutes of international rugby.

    Of the total minutes allocated to outhalves over the course of the year, Sexton played 57% of them, with the remainder split (Carbery 30%, Crowley 12%, Ross Byrne 1%).

  • Moderators, Arts Moderators Posts: 34,794 Mod ✭✭✭✭pickarooney

    Is turnovers lost not when you go for a jackal and get cleared out or told to leave it?

    On second thoughts that would be almost impossible to calculate and would be a huge number if you did

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Yeah, agreed. I don't think it's a meaningful stat, so didn't include it in my initial write up.

  • Posts: 0 ✭✭✭✭[Deleted User]

    That's a terrific read. The chosen stat brackets are particularly insightful and demonstrate the breadth and multifaceted nature of our game style under Farrell.

    There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance and whilst the former is a very positive thing, Irish people are utterly allergic to the latter. It's a cultural quirk I quite like about our little corner of the world, but in a sporting context I think it can sometimes deprive us of the bit of swagger that occasionally means the difference between winning or losing in elite sports.

    Over the last year I've been looking at how journalists in other countries write about the Irish rugby team, and listening to how players for other teams talk about the Irish rugby team and I've been finding the rhetoric somewhat jarring because I'm conditioned to us to be the underdog - reluctant to talk ourselves up. But this Irish team might very well be the real deal.

    The dataset above is most interesting because it demonstrates the inventiveness of Ireland's game at the moment. We're not dominant in one or two aspects of play - we're just a little bit better at pretty much everything.

    I think all the ingredients are baked into this squad for a deep, competitive tournament run and if we're in similar shape at the end of next Summer then I think we can go into the World cup with confidence. The affirmation a playing group gets from accounting for the detail, the physical demands and mental consistency required to deliver a year of rugby like 2022 should be massive and breed the confidence and belief that every World cup winning squad has possessed.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,920 ✭✭✭✭stephen_n

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    On this, Doris would have been 4th in most penalties conceded with 9 penalties (Top 3 were Porter -12, Ryan -10 and Beirne - 10). Next up after Doris was Furlong (8 pens), followed by both Sexton & Van der Flier on 6 each.

    Best discipline from players who played meaningful minutes were Mack Hansen (0 penalties in 720 mins), Joey Carbery (0 in 264), Jimmy O'Brien (0 in 210) and Stuart McCloskey (0 in 159). All in 15 players conceded zero penalties, but of those only 7 players over 80 mins. Hugo Keenan (1 pen in 713 mins) and JGP (1 in 696 mins) also had good stats here.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,682 ✭✭✭Dubinusa

    I do worry about our discipline. We seem to be giving up a lot. I think that this is an area the we need to work on. Under Schmidt, we were very good on the discipline front.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    We averaged just over (10.1) penalties a game conceded in 2022, which is about you'd expect. Our opponents were at 11.5 by contrast. Our worst disciplinary outings were England (where the interpretation of the scrums was a joke, acknowledged by the referees afterwards) where we conceded 15, and the second test in NZ (14).

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 14,599 Mod ✭✭✭✭CIARAN_BOYLE

    There's a line.

    I'm not saying to abandon discipline but things happen in a ruck or a maul that get pinged.

    There's a risk of going passive if we are more disciplined. Ireland had the lowest amount of cards this year (tied with the Feench) of any tier 1 nation if 1 red card is considered equal to yellow cards otherwise we had the second lowest number of cards.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,514 ✭✭✭downtheroad

    Again lovely numbers and statistics but taking the most recent games I don't think Carbery's 4 minutes versus South Africa and a run out versus Fiji is good enough preparation for a world cup quarter final against France or New Zealand.

    Crowley (and Byrne) only got those minutes against Australia because Sexton was injured. We all know he would have played the majority of that game if fit.

    Hopefully Carbery, Crawley, Byrne will be given real minutes in the 2023 6 Nations, and not the usual games against Italy and Scotland with a few minutes against England, France and Wales.

    The one statistic that the majority will look back on this time next year is did Ireland get to a World Cup semi final (or hopefully even better than that).