Two tricky road trip assignments for Leinster Rugby have being negotiated; six points from trips to Cardiff Blues and Scarlets is a decent start to the season given the personnel not available for selection. Hawkeye Sidekick has had a look at the Leinster Rugby XV starting selection and the statistics show a side whose squad depth and skill set is extremely high.
Interesting statistics in this facet of play particularly in the fly-half position. Ross Byrne was prominent with ball in hand as he gained 32 meters during the opening round victory over Cardiff Blues but his carries against Scarlets last week was significantly reduced; just the five carries for no meters gained indicating more focus on game management and getting the back three running with the ball evident in McFadden and Lowe’s statistics last weekend.
There is a lot for Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster to be happy in this report. The opening performance of Robbie Henshaw was excellent and Rhys Ruddock’s work rate with the number of carries is to the fore. As you can see, squad depth was well tried in the opening two rounds of the Guinness Pro 14 and when you consider Sexton, O’Brien, Ringrose and Ryan have yet to feature, it is a testament to the squad depth at the province.
The Scarlets contest in round two was a high caliber contest. Scarlets enjoyed good periods of dominance and it was reflected in the Leinster Rugby tackle count statistics. Six Leinster Rugby players last weekend made 10+ tackles with Ross Byrne doing a marvelous job in the ten channel. Furlong, Healy, Henshaw, Cronin and Josh Murphy showed well in this statistic; strong opening fixture cameos from the international contingent.
Cardiff Blues was a far fluid contest and the tackle count statistics perhaps tells this story. Leinster Rugby grew into this contest and the tackle count reduced in the third and fourth quarter which indicates the low tackle count tallies. Luke McGrath led the statistic with nine tackles along with Ross Molony in the pack.
Outstanding statistics from a team dynamic perspective; players work ethic is typified in these statistics and it is only September! This statistic could be scary come European Champions Cup time of the season.
Ross Byrne has stood out in these opening two league fixtures; has looked to create line breaks with quick, incisive passing to his back line. Solid numbers produced. Fardy’s ability to offload and connect play evident in the opening round fixture statistics; superb footballer.
Six tries scored so far, evenly spread out between starting lineup players and players coming off the bench. Cardiff Blues’ game saw the bench impact with Brian Byrne and Jamison Gibson-Park cross over. Scarlets’ game saw McFadden, Lowe and Ruddock score. Six tries conceded with four leaked against Cardiff Blues but the defensive side of the ball will improve as the season progresses.