Six Nations 2014: Team Performance Analysis

We’ve analysed the player ratings from each of the Six Nations teams over the past couple of months to see how they reflect the overall team performances in each round.

This article comes with plenty of caveats around subjectivity, different writers rating each team, consistency of scoring and so on.

Overall team ratings

This table shows the sum of player ratings for each team versus their competition rivals – read along the rows to see how each team scored against their opposition in each column. For instance, Ireland scored 110 (out of 150) against England and 127 versus Wales.


The teams are listed according to where they finished in the final table, and the Average score column highlights some discrepancy. It appears France were lucky to finish ahead of Wales, and perhaps Italy should have beaten Scotland to consign them to the Wooden Spoon – but there’s not much in it, and rumours that the Six Nations committee will use The Rugby Blog’s player ratings to decide the overall Championship winner are totally unfounded.

In terms of performance, Ireland’s efforts against Wales stand out with the highest score, which seems to reflect that match in Dublin pretty well, and the fact their overall score never dropped below 110 suggests they were worthy tournament winners.

At the other end of the scale, Scotland’s drubbing by Wales in Round 5 stands out as the lowest score, in which Stuart Hogg’s 1 out of 10 didn’t contribute much. Their best performance came against France – a game they really should have won, particularly when the opposition only mustered a team score of 80.5.

Scores by Round

This chart may tell us a little more about each team’s performances in sequence, giving some clues about how they might be developing just 18 months from the Rugby World Cup.

Ireland and England stand out as both the highest scorers and most consistent sides by some distance, and their supporters have the most cause for optimism ahead of the World Cup. More effective performances are becoming more common, and whilst there is still room for improvement, things seem to be moving in the right direction. Every other team would appear to be on a rollercoaster ride.

Wales’ average score was reasonable, but there were clear dips in performance when the team played away from home in Rounds 2 and 4, highlighting that the Millennium Stadium really does lift the players.

Scotland were also erratic, not helped by the extraordinary selection decisions of outgoing coach Scott Johnson, and these figures show that a change of direction is just what they need.

What do you think? Are there any interesting trends that stand out in these numbers? Do these ratings reflect what you saw happening in the tournament? How did you rate the teams’ performances, putting the actual results to one side?


37 thoughts on “Six Nations 2014: Team Performance Analysis

  1. So Ireland’s score was higher for a home win against Italy (minus Parisse) that was by a smaller margin than England’s in Rome (with Parisse). You weren’t wrong about subjective!

    1. Only by one third of a point per player, and one match they won by 40 points, the other they lost by 3.

      Each country’s ratings were compiled by a writer from that country.

      1. >Each country’s ratings were compiled by a writer from that country.

        Not France’s. BTW I think the England Ireland game was the game of the tournament.

  2. Didn’t Wales finish ahead of France on points diff?

    This really is an apples Vs pears comparison. What may help is if TRB published a player rating scale, something that describes what a player has to do to merit a particular score. If we know what an 8 is (for example), we can then debate whether the player meets the criteria to score an 8 rather than comparing them to how other raters have marked other matches.

    But on the ratings, I think England’s away wins in Scotland and Italy are undervalued in comparison to Ireland’s home wins against the same opposition.

    1. Yes, comparing apples with oranges and pears, and all dependent on subjective analysis, but interesting to look at nonetheless. There are some things you see and think ‘ah yes, that proves what I thought’ and others where you think ‘I don’t think that, this analysis is nonsense!’

      1. Nah, the “we can’t beat France” trophy! :-)

        Seriously mind, have you seen how many trophies there are now? Eng v Ire is now “the millenium trophy” for example. Won’t be long before the spoon is given out in an official ceremony I think.

        1. We have the best 6N record against France overall. ;-)

          Incidentally, I was looking at the French version of the Six Nations Wiki page, and the winner of England v France is awarded the “Eurostar Trophy” apparently – and has been since 2000. I’ve never heard of it!

  3. Confirms what we always guessed. Wales are flat track bullies! Brilliant against weak teams but loose out to those who have a steely edge.

    1. Ha. Troll. Where was all this drivel last year? Or the year before?

      Yes, we know Wales were poor this year. Yes, we know all the plastic
      Rugby fans have had to eat their gravel for the last two years because they cannot handle the concept of Wales being better than them. They do not understand rugby, do not understand how this tiny poxy nation can be good at something. We now see them running out of the woodwork with salacious glee and “I told you, they were always crap!” spite. We also know these same insightful pundits were very quiet for the last two years. We enjoy this circus very much. We look forward to more Monday morning quarterbacking next year.

      1. When was last time wales beat a Southern Hemisphere side. Truth is standard of northern hemisphere rugby has been fairly poor

        1. I agree with blights. When wales play a team which was born in wales they are fairly good. Trouble is they will keep picking too many soft english born players who aren’t welsh at all. Bring back the70s!

        2. Ha ha, you are a cliche ridden part time rugby fan and I claim my £5 for spotting you. Well done.

          1. Not sure why anyone ever contradicts this blogs expert and only knowledgeable commentator, BRIGHTY?!

            Folks stop making any points and leave the commenting to him (or her). The rest of us are either Monday morning quarterbacks, anti Welsh, stupid, never played the game or just part time rugby supporters.

            Having said all that it’s not surprising Wales did not perform, given that they contributed most of the Lions players. I think there is precedent for such a fall off after a Lions tour before, but then who am I to know such things.

              1. ““only knowledgeable commentator”

                Can I get a badge or star or something by my name now when I post?

            1. There’s also a precedent for France winning the tournament the year after a Lions tour (as happened in 98, 2002, 2006 and 2010. Didn’t happen this time!

            2. Get over yourself Darkie. Someone posts something, I disagree. Both of us have our say. Singling me out just shows your prejudice. Have the confidence to not give a stuff what I think.

              I respond to decent comments with genuine replies. Crap, ill informed and anti-Wales digs like “they’re flat track bullies, like we’ve always known” and “Wales only win the bad 6 nations” will always get pithy, short and dismissive replies. Much like this one.

              1. A little advice; quit mentioning all the time why you know better and why others just don’t approach your knowledge.

                State your argument and leave out the personal remarks. If you feel the need to put other’s stupid comments down, then perhaps this says more about your state of mind than theirs. If your views are correct then the veracity of your argument will convince, while the personal remarks just negate your good points.

                I never understand why you feel the need to engage in exchanges which frankly negate your good points through ad hominem type responses.

                I suspect, but hope not, that this will however draw another “get over it” remark from you, but so be it, it’s my final word on this matter.

                1. A little bit of advice back … that voice in your head that tells you that the way you do things is “the right way” and hence when someone else doesn’t do it like that you can a) tell them they’re wrong and b) tell them the right way to do it. It’s not right.

            3. If writing on rugby was an olympic sport Brighty would be in with a shout for a medal for Wales for effort alone!

              Never thought I’d be writing this – but in fairness to him he does try to be objective and he is very knowledgable.


              1. DDD, that has the whiff of a compliment. Who are you and what have you done with the real DDD!? :-)

                In terms of my volume – aye, I do write a lot, I know. It’s a subject I love and it gives me a decent 5 min break from the totally different day job.

                1. Hah, no. I work in a profession where high functioning sociopaths flourish, which may explain the tone of my delivery.

                  As you asked – I design microchips. It’s actually “Dr Bright” don’t you know… :-)

  4. Was the final table even consulted before this article was written? To suggest France were lucky to finish ahead of Wales and highlight it as an actual discrepancy in the analysis suggests that it probably wasn’t.

  5. For what its worth, the figures show that England and Ireland were consistent, whereas Wales, Scotland and Ireland were not. Sounds pretty correct to me.

    It also shows Italy being consistent, before falling away at the end.

    This whole matter has to be subjective doesn’t it? How can it be anything but?

    If you try to form it all on factual measures then it becomes a pile of stats, which are just as open to subjective analysis.

    Who is to blame for losing a scrum, or a line-out, or getting turned over in a tackle. We would have to instigate a “tariff” for tackle difficulty and tackle importance.

    So let’s not get to hung up on the markings. It has to be subjective, and thats what makes it interesting.

    1. I agree that Ireland and England were much more consistent. I thought France should have won against Ireland even though one of their tries was an opportunistic Irish-style grubber and the other was tenuous and may have been a knock on. The try that wasn’t was a botched pass that bounced on the deck and looked a bit forward. The England Ireland game was the highest level imo as 2 quality performances in attack and defence made it riveting. That’s my 2 cents at least. There will always be mistakes but there were fewer in that game and it was intense as heck. It’s the 4 nations at the moment and I predict Italy will overtake Scotland in the next decade to make it 5. Sorry Scotland – just my feeling. Not enough youngsters playing rugby in Scotland. Who knows though. They might get it together.

  6. Talk about subjective.
    Even in the narrative, Ireland are described as the most consistent, when England’s line is almost straight.
    All the chat about Wales being better than you think. Still came home 4th. And with the mass exodus of all the top players to France and England, it is not looking good.
    I had hopes for Scotland to finally put their wilderness years behind them, but sadly they left me disappointed again.
    If only there was some kind of online searchable database which could collate all the relevant information into neatly digestible bites, we might find out that it was a good 10 years before France won a five nations match, and it wasn’t until they were 50 years in before they won the tournament. Italy, even though they still hold the table up, have a better record so far than France ever did at this stage.
    If I were to try and predict anything for the RWC next year, all I will say is that Ireland and England are looking like putting together decent, if not surprising, campaigns.

    1. I agree with some of what you say Ed but seriously, writing Wales off on the basis of one six nations? Ireland, 4th last year, hapless displays … now 6 nations champions and being spoken of as a real threat at the WC. The 6 nations is such a small tournament that there is 1st, there is the rest, and there is last. Where you are in the rest matters little to me (though I will contradict myself here and point out we came 3rd, not the 4th you state). We lost one more game than the two above us, we lost to those two teams, so where we are is justified. Ireland mullered us, I don’t buy the general consensus that England did. Right now I’d say Ireland will beat all of the 6 nations teams again, the rest not so predictable for me.

  7. Brighty, I’m not writing Wales off on the basis of one Six Nations (I don’t want to write them off as my heritage is Welsh, with a strong dose of English…) I’m suggesting that the mass exodus – every week sees new headlines of top-flight Welsh players leaving for either Premiership or Top 14, I’ve even seen Ryan Jones head for the Championship – will make it very difficult for Wales to compete going forward. Even though they do have a very good set of youngsters coming through, the attitude of the senior players to bu66er off and earn top dollar elsewhere does not bode well – do they think they deserve more out of the game? (I’m not saying I have the answers to the region / club debate, but sort that, and Wales will be a force to be reckoned with, similarly with Scotland.)
    My apologies for getting the position wrong – I didn’t know, and it seemed from the narrative that France were 3rd and Wales were 4th – I stand (sit) corrected!
    On the basis that I’m English and BOD is no longer playing, I’d say play it again now and England will win – they were the only team to beat Ireland.
    With my Welsh hat on, I desperately hope that they sort out their internal issues so they can concentrate on getting their top players playing in Wales again, and get back to where they should be.
    For their sake, I really hope Scotchland get it together as well. England and Ireland are moving in the right direction, it would be good to see all four back at the top!
    Anyway, all that’s for a different discussion!
    Stat of the day has to be Geat’s with France’s record of winning six nations after a Lions tour!

    1. Ed, I can see your point. Personally I’m not sure about the exodus effect on national prospects yet. It’s too early to tell for me which of the two oft discussed scenarios will pan out – our elite players will benefit from playing in top end HC etc and our young players will benefit from more gaps in domestic squads OR our elite players fitness will suffer, availability for international squads will suffer and our domestic clubs will wither from lack of interest and competitiveness.

      When I see other countries “play here to play for the country” rules they all seem to be about preserving the domestic game rather than improving international chances.

      However, I do agree with you that I would rather our stars were at home. I’m looking forward to seeing the details of this new euro comp and the slightly restructured pro 12 – we could see improved finances this year and maybe, maybe the WRU will also start helping. I see lots of problems/opportunities for us and if we take them the right way we could have an excellent next few years. If.

Comments are closed.