Grand Slam in numbers: The stats behind Ireland’s campaign

Grand Slam 2000
Ireland sealed their third Grand Slam of the Six Nations era with a 29-16 victory over England in Dublin.

Ireland sealed their third Grand Slam of the Six Nations era with a 29-16 victory over England in Dublin.

Andy Farrell’s side have been a cut above the rest in 2023, justifying their status as the number one team in the world with five impressive performances on the spin.

We’ve been working with Sage to take a look at some of the numbers which have helped make them kings of the Championship castle…

2 – minutes taken to set the tone

The 2023 Guinness Six Nations was less than 120 seconds old when Ireland delivered their first statement of intent.

A trip to Principality Stadium in Warren Gatland’s first game back in charge had the potential to be a tricky assignment but Caelan Doris’ early score snuffed out any chance the home side had of building early momentum.

It was a sign of things to come both on the day and in the Championship.

13 – different try scorers

Ireland’s strength in depth is enough to draw enviable glances from near enough every rugby playing nation on the planet.

They have suffered injuries to key players along the way, with Dan Sheehan, Tadhg Beirne and Robbie Henshaw among those to miss chunks of the Championship, but the conveyor belt of Irish talent has ensured seamless transitions throughout.

Sheehan and Henshaw became Ireland’s 11th and 12th try scorers of the campaign by crossing either side of half time against England, the latter making a timely return to the starting XV in the absence of his long-time centre partner Garry Ringrose.

Rob Herring, a late replacement for Sheehan at hooker, then made it 13 different scorers late on to truly get the party started in Dublin.

67 – tackles made by Josh van der Flier

There was plenty of expectation on Josh van der Flier heading into this year’s Championship, the flanker having been named World Rugby Player of the Year at the end of 2022.

He didn’t show any sign of being weighed down by it, however. The 29-year-old was at his all-action best and crunched into 80 tackles across his five appearances.

Van der Flier also chipped in with a try against Wales in Round 1 and emphasised his status as an integral part of Ireland’s feared pack.

14 – home wins in a row

Ireland have made the Aviva a fortress of late and neither of their two visiting teams were able to breach it this year.

If anyone was going to end Ireland’s run of home wins, the smart money may have been on the side ranked just below them in the world rankings, France.

But Ireland successfully cleared that hurdle in an all-time classic in Round 2, winning 32-19, and recovered from a nervy start to ensure England left empty-handed on Super Saturday.

38 – years since comparable scenes

Ireland are no strangers to winning Grand Slams in recent times but they really craved putting the icing on the cake in front of their own fans.

The classes of 2009 and 2018 completed their clean sweeps on the road and Ireland had never before sealed a Slam in their capital city.

To do so on St Patrick’s Day weekend, against England of all teams, was the stuff of dreams for those of a green persuasion and the significance was not lost on captain James Ryan.

“[It’s] one of the best nights of our careers today,” he said. “We spoke about the opportunity to win a Grand Slam at home in front of the Irish people.

“There was a bit of pressure but every game you play for Ireland there’s pressure. That’s why it’s so pleasing.

“[It’s] a hugely special day to win a Grand Slam in front of your own fans.

“A Grand Slam is really special for this country, and I am really proud of all the boys. We have gone from strength to strength.”

The names of Ryan and his teammates will go down in Irish rugby folklore – and there could yet be more glory to come this year…