It was an impressive display from England on Saturday in Dublin, they got into Ireland’s faces knocking the home team off their stride right from the off. Let’s have a look at the game from a Connacht perspective.
Bundee Aki started at inside centre while Quinn Roux was on the bench. Roux only had 20 minutes in the second half which didn’t give him enough time to have much of an influence on the game, so we are focusing on Bundee’s contribution .
Aki appeared as first receiver a number of times during the game, not a role we would normally see him take with Connacht.
We are going look at Aki’s last four games for Ireland and his ten starts for Connacht this season to benchmark against the England game.
Saturday was the most passes Bundee has made this season for either Connacht or Ireland.
He passed the ball 61% of the time against England, which is nearly double his average in his previous 4 matches for Ireland which is 32%.
Bundee carried the ball 9 times against England, the lowest amount of carries he’s made in his last 4 matches for Ireland, which is well below his average of 14 carries per match for the national team.
Metres made with ball in hand
Aki was less effect with ball in hand in the Aviva as he only carried the ball for a total gain of 14 metres. In his previous 4 Irish matches he made an average gain of 28.75 metres per match, while his average for Connacht this season is 25.5 metres per match.
There was an obvious change in emphasis on how Bundee used the ball at the weekend and as the stats show, it was his least effective game for Ireland.
Let’s hope Ireland revert to using Bundee’s undoubted strengths as a ball carrier, who gets over the gain line more often than not, versus Scotland next Saturday.