PHILADELPHIA, PA – Here is the meat of this post about Rugby World Cup 2015 lineouts: Ireland and South Africa had the best lineouts in pool play.
Fiji did well on their own ball – 87% in the toughest group – but their opponents did just as well. Here is the table with the most successful defensive teams at the top. South Africa, Ireland, and New Zealand are in the Top 5 for both tables. (Same information, just rearranged.)
Looking toward the quarterfinals, Scotland performed worse than average on their own lineout. Australia’s defensive lineout performed better than average. Clear anticipated edge to Australia there. This is part of why that match should end with the biggest margin. The most even lineout battle looks to be South Africa and Wales.
Where are the targets?
The safest conventional lineout throw is to the front. The most common lineout throw is to the middle.
In terms of selection questions within the teams in the quarterfinals, with more throws it gets harder to maintain a close-to-perfect record.
A lineout is won if the throwing team wins possession, even if fleetingly, from the lineout.
A lineout is won cleanly, in these records, if it is received by the apparent intended target, and he is able to transfer the ball cleanly to the next player. Anything after that is a new event. If the lineout jumper catches the ball, tosses it off the top to the scrum half who catches it cleanly, the lineout is won cleanly. If the scrum half then takes a step backward and drops the ball while attempting a box kick, that doesn’t factor in here. The same principal is applied with mauls. If the “ripper,” the first player to get the ball from the jumper, gets the ball cleanly, the lineout is won cleanly. If there is a turnover in the maul, that is a different event.
A lineout is won dirty if the throw is caught by someone other than the apparent intended receiver, and/or if the transfer is not clean but possession is maintained.
Coding lineout throws can be tricky because a slight judgment must be made. If a jumper jumps 11 meters in from touch and lands 13 meters in from touch, has that throw gone to the middle or to the tail? We’ve done our best to be accurate and consistent.
All data is from RWC 2015 and collected by me and Somye Goyal.
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