The “damning statistic” that is killing rugby according to Warren Gatland
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Wales head coach Warren Gatland has revealed a “damning statistic” that is encouraging negative play and causing serious damage to rugby.
Territory is hugely important in the sport but fans want to see exciting play with the ball in hand. It turns out, however, that teams are instead being rewarded for playing without the ball, rather than with it.
Writing in his latest Telegraph column, Gatland has revealed that at the Rugby World Cup, teams that registered the most kicking metres enjoyed an 80 percent win rate.
“Through the World Cup in France, the team that registered the most kicking metres enjoyed roughly an 80 percent win rate,” Gatland wrote.
“It is a damning statistic from the perspective of a coach and a player who wants to play rugby and shift the ball when the opportunities arise and take chances.
“Instead, there is a greater emphasis on territory, of needing to be smart when you have the ball and limit the amount of turnovers in the game, particularly in the middle part of the pitch – and that means more territorial kicking.”
Gatland’s Welsh side suffered a 29-17 defeat to Argentina in the quarter-finals, and he pointed out that is is despite the fact that his side were far more dominant with the ball in hand.
“It was a statistic that came back to bite us during the World Cup. I was delighted that we topped the pool, beating Fiji and Australia along the way, but we had a brilliant chance to reach the semi-finals, which would have been a fantastic return,” he wrote.
“However, during our quarter-final defeat by Argentina, it was the one game when we lost the kicking duel despite making more line breaks, more carry metres, and more passes.
“Argentina finished the game with more kicks and more kicking metres than us. It is one thing knowing about the stats, but you must have the ability to apply them as well.”
Do you think this is something we need to be concerned about?