2021 British & Irish Lions Squad: Settle The Debate With This Brilliant Stat Tool

The stats don’t lie.

Predictions for the 2021 Lions squad are rampant right now with head coach Warren Gatland set to name his squad next week.

You’ve heard from your friends, you’ve heard from the pundits, but what do the stats have to say?

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Mark Johnstone, founder of creative consultancy Content Hubble, has analysed player performance data from this year’s Six Nations and created a tool that lets you compare the stats for the players in every position.

You can compare English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh players, as well as swap players in interchangeable positions.

Check out the tool here: https://contenthubble.com/playground/lions-selection/

Here’s a sample of insights from the tool which shows head-to-head stats for each position (stats from the 2021 Six Nations).

Outhalf: Flamboyant Finn might Russell up some magic but could he give the game away?

  • Playmaker Russell will challenge the opposition, making 147 metres from 22 carries, breaking 5 tackles and offloading 6 times.
  • Sexton, with only 1 less carry, made 28 fewer metres, broke 2 fewer tackles and offloaded 4 fewer times.
  • Russell’s discipline does raise questions though, with 9 handling errors, 2 knock-ons, 8 missed tackles, 10 turnovers conceded, 3 penalties, 1 yellow card and 1 red.
  • Sexton offers a steadier hand and a steadier head, with only 4 handling errors, no knock-ons, 4 missed tackles, and only 2 penalties conceded and no cards received.

Flanker: Beirne and Curry serve up different options

  • Beirne offers more in the turnover and the lineout, winning the ball 10 and 13 times to Curry’s once and twice.
  • Curry conceded twice as many turnovers as Beirne, losing the ball 6 times to the Irishman’s 3.
  • But Beirne made 5 handling errors where Curry made 2.
  • And Curry showed greater strength with 7 dominant tackles, while Beirne didn’t drive back anyone.

Number 8: Are Stander and Faletau leaving Billy behind?

  • Faletau showed an incredible work rate in defence, making 77 tackles to Stander’s 44 and Vunipola’s 32.
  • However, Faletau let more players through his grasp, missing 11 (12.5%) of his tackles, to Vunipola’s 4 (11.1%) and Stander’s 3 (6.4%).
  • Stander shows a knack for regaining possession, winning 5 turnovers and stealing 2 lineouts, with Vunipola and Faletau managing just 1 turnover each, and winning 1 of their own lineouts but stealing none.

Wing: Will the rookies take to the wing?

  • In their first full tournament, van der Merwe and Rees-Zammit topped the scoreboard with 5 and 4 tries respectively. And Anthony Watson matched Rees-Zammit’s tally, while the young Welshmen also set up another 2.
  • All three look powerful in attack with van der Merwe making 474 metres made from 44 carries, Rees-Zammit making 351 metres from 27 carries and Watson 296 from 35.
  • Van der Merwe showed his strength once more, breaking the tackle a massive 32 times. Watson left 13 would-be tacklers in his wake, while Rees-Zammit skipped away from 6.