Scotland-South Africa - analysing the stats

Jack Dempsey
Jack Dempsey was Scotland's top carrier, with 10

Tom English, BBC Scotland in Marseille

Albert Einstein once said of statistics that “not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts".

Tell that to the data folk at World Rugby. The stats for Scotland versus South Africa are out, with about 22.5% of them being relevant, 38.5% of them being dubious with the remaining 39% throwing up some interesting numbers, if you believe them.

Metres made - Scotland made fewer than half of South Africa’s metres with ball-in-hand. They averaged 505m per game in their World Cup warm-ups, but carried for only 226m on Sunday.

Defence - Scotland, apparently, made more than triple the number of dominant tackles than South Africa. We must have missed most of them.

Set-piece – It says here Scotland lost four lineouts when it was actually more than that. How they arrived at four reminds you of the line about lies, damned lies and statistics. Scotland’s lineout was a nightmare.

Gainline success – Here, we can accept the numbers. In their carries in their warm-up games, Scotland got across the gainline more than 50% of the time. On Sunday, Bok power brought that number down to 30%.

Ruck speed – Scotland thrive on quick ruck ball and the Springboks were ready for them. They slowed them down to a snail’s pace at the breakdown; 41.5% slower than rucks in their warm-up games, with an average of 4.6 seconds per ruck. Pedestrian.

Red-zone efficiency – Scotland entered the South Africa 22 six times and came away with zero points from those entries. Unusual and key to the outcome.

Carriers - Jack Dempsey was the only Scotland forward in double figures (10) for carries. Grim.

Stingy Boks - In their last two games, against a good All Blacks attack and a strong Scotland attack, South Africa have conceded a total of 10 points. Ominous.