Reaction to Munster Rugby’s defeat to Glasgow Warriors last weekend drew some over the top fan reaction. The performance was indicative of a team who did not get to the pitch of the game due to a lack of competition in their opening round fixture. Hawkeye Sidekick has reviewed the statistics for the Munster starting lineups in the opening two rounds and the verdict is in.
A Tale of two games
When you start to pick the analysis from last weekend’s loss to Glasgow Warriors, you just have to compare the statistics from round one and the emphatic win over a disappointing Cheetahs side at Thomond Park to the statistics generated during the round two loss at Scotstoun. The two games were so contrasting.
If you look through these numbers, it provides some interesting side notes. Rory Scannell and Mike Haley’s numbers with ball in hand are very consistent; good cameos from both players. The emergence of Darren Sweetnam from an excellent preseason is seen in his first two outings; his meters per carry are incredibly good (10.75 and 7.50) in his two games.
Glasgow Warriors defensive line speed in contrast to Cheetahs is seen on the numbers produced by Munster Rugby. The numbers are significantly lower and it illustrates that Munster Rugby were not helped by the fact that Cheetahs were massively outclassed at Thomond Park.
This is always an interesting statistic; see where players are expending their energy and who is going over and beyond the call of duty in preventing opposition gain line breaks.
The Glasgow Warriors round saw the side having to go deep into their tackle count. I am delighted to see Tommy O’Donnell score so high in this discipline; his performances so far have being incredibly on point and the tackle count of 17 and 19 in consecutive games so far bodes well for the season. Jean Kleyn and Arno Botha statistics in these opening games have being impressive; the Glasgow Warriors fixture saw them top the tackle chart with 19 and 20 tackles respectively.
Botha has being superb, astute signing from the province and the other back row options vying for starting time will have their work cut to dislodge the back row such is his form so far this season. John Ryan and Dave Kilcoyne work rate seen to good effect in their tackle count numbers.
A contrasting two opening fixtures for the respective Munster Rugby starting lineups particularly in the half back division.
Such was the dominance enjoyed by Munster Rugby in their opening round fixture, the half backs saw plenty of possession to pass to their team colleagues. Glasgow fixture was a complete different story; Cronin only passed thirteen times and JJ Hanrahan for his cameo only passed the ball seven times.
The second round fixture statistics across the starting lineup dipped dramatically except for Mike Haley who is consistent at six passes for both fixtures. Sweetnam’s lack of influence on proceedings seen by the fact that he never passed the ball throughout the Glasgow Warriors contest. A telling statistic.
The starting lineup has accounted for six of the seven tries so far in the opening two rounds. Rhys Marshall’s try against Glasgow Warriors the only try to come from the bench. Early days yet but try count from the bench will be an interesting statistic as the season progresses starting with a key playoff fixture (even this early) to a rejuvenated Ospreys outfit this Friday night.
Nineteen line outs executed so far this season and Munster have won fifteen but it is the ones that misfired which will be talked about. The Glasgow Warriors game saw inaccuracy in this department particularly in the five meter line out at the end of the contest, a statistic which Munster Rugby which need to improve upon to allow their maul game to prosper.