Stats preview: Guinness Six Nations Round Four

With everything still to play for in Rugby’s Greatest Championship, Round Four of the Guinness Six Nations promises another weekend of drama with three blockbuster encounters.

With everything still to play for in Rugby’s Greatest Championship, Round Four of the Guinness Six Nations promises another weekend of drama with three blockbuster encounters.

Scotland welcome Wales to BT Murrayfield in the opening game of the round on Saturday as the unbeaten visitors look to maintain their quest for a first Grand Slam title since 2012.

England will then look to get their Championship challenge back on track following their defeat in Cardiff when Eddie Jones’ men take on winless Italy at Twickenham.

Defending champions Ireland conclude the weekend’s action on Sunday against France in Dublin, where they must win to keep their titles chances alive for another week.

And ahead of this weekend’s action, we’ve had a look at the key statistics, powered by AWS, to see where the penultimate games of this year’s thrilling Championship could be won or lost.

Two sides who have experienced contrasting Guinness Six Nations will do battle in Edinburgh in the first game of the weekend when Scotland host Wales at BT Murrayfield.

Wales have gone from dark horses to front runners after beating England to maintain their 100 percent start to the 2019 Championship, while Scotland have lost their last two games.

History would appear to favour the visitors too – Wales have won 15 of their 19 Championship meetings with Scotland in the Six Nations era, including 10 victories in their last 11.

Scotland will take encouragement from their 2017 triumph in their own backyard, though, which is where three of their four victories against Wales in the Championship have come.

The hosts have had 49 percent of possession and 55 percent of territory so far in this year’s Guinness Six Nations, compared to Wales’ 52 percent for both categories.

Both sides have also scored seven tries in this Championship campaign, one every 34.3 minutes, but Scotland’s defence has been susceptible – leaking one try every 24 minutes.

Gregor Townsend’s side have conceded ten tries in total compared to Wales’ five (one every 48 minutes) and they will need to address this if they are to rain on Warren Gatland’s parade.

England go into the final two rounds of the 2019 Guinness Six Nations knowing they cannot afford any more slip-ups if they are to reclaim the title following their defeat to Wales.

The hosts have never lost to Italy in the Championship and go into the clash with the best attacking record this year, having scored 11 tries in their three games (one every 21.8 minutes).

On the other hand, Conor O’Shea’s Italian outfit are currently one of four teams with seven tries to their name – one every 34.3 minutes.

Interestingly, England have tended to concede possession regularly in this year’s campaign, only having 43 percent, but they have kicked for territory well (56 percent) to gain an upper hand.

The visitors will also need to be wary of Red Rose dangermen such as Billy Vunipola, who has so far racked up an impressive 40 carries for 219 metres to keep his side’s attack ticking over.

England’s powerful defensive displays have also been a signature of their play, with Mark Wilson (72), Tom Curry (69) and Jamie George (63) all contributing to the huge workload.

Leonardo Ghiraldini is the only Azzurri player to come close, with 57 tackles under his belt, while the scrum is another area England will look to target Italy  who have won 75 percent of their own scrums.

With memories still fresh of Ireland’s dramatic last-gasp victory at the Stade de France last year, Les Bleus will be looking to exact revenge when they travel to the Aviva Stadium on Sunday.

The hosts have won their last two games after losing to England in Round One, while France got off the mark against Scotland in their last encounter after defeats to Wales and England.

Ireland have had the better of the two sides’ recent meetings with four wins from their last five Championship clashes, although France have the slightly better record since 2000 with nine wins.

Joe Schmidt’s men have also enjoyed plenty of possession in this year’s campaign, with 57 percent to France’s 53, and are ranked second for their attacking prowess.

The defending champions have scored nine tries, one every 26.7 minutes, while France have dotted down seven times (one every 34.3 minutes), the same as Scotland, Wales and Italy.

Jacques Brunel’s side will need to tighten up at the back if they are to stand a chance, however, having conceded ten tries so far to leave them second from bottom in those standings as well.

Last year’s Player of the Championship Jacob Stockdale could also cause the visitors plenty problems, with the winger running the ball an astonishing 365 metres so far in this year’s campaign.