We take a look back at some of the encounters from the weekend from a statistics point of view, provided by Oval Insights.
What a way to open the 2024 Men’s Rugby Europe Championship season, as Belgium brilliantly defeated Portugal in Mons, while the Netherlands were just three points away from beating Spain for the first-time.
Georgia motivated by the now centurion Merab Sharikadze defeated Germany in an emotional bout, and Romania escaped the cold battle of Gdynia with also the four points. To wrap up the weekend here are the hottest stats of round 1 provided by Oval Insights.
Clean Breaks: 10
Ten clean breaks were made by Spain, cracking openings in the Dutch defense, and providing some of the most insane pieces of skill of the weekend. Martiniano Cian (Player of the Match), JW Bell, Kerman Aurrekoetxea, Martín Alonso, and Alvar Gimeno made two each, helping the Leones score two times, and eluding seventeen defenders in their way.
Eight of those clean breaks were produced in the first-half, coinciding in what was Spain’s best period of a hard-fought win in a fully packed Amsterdam, showcasing the best out of their flamboyant backline.
Defensive Turnovers: 11
Belgium’s supreme defence was the cornerstone to defeat Portugal and keep the Lobos try-less, a feat that no other team could do for the past nine years!
The number 11 was the number of turnovers made at the breakdown, blocking the Portuguese threatening attack, stealing the momentum, and enduring the most intense passages of play. Julien Berger was the turnover king with three, followed by Maximillien Hendrickx and Florian Remue (two each). The Diables Noirs were simply impenetrable, and remained a cohesive unit until the final whistle was blown, resulting in a special and deserving victory that not one from the 4,000 fans in Mons will ever forget!
Scrum penalties won: 7
Georgia found themselves in a feisty atmosphere and fierce contest against Germany on Sunday, and departed Dessau with an 11-point margin win which was mostly thanks to a top effort from their scrum, powering through and getting awarded seven penalties, two of which would end up in tries.
The Lelos have made the scrum one of their preferred platforms to score tries, and in their first outing of the Men’s Rugby Europe Championship, it ended up being vital. The thumping dominance injected in the scrum was a delight to watch, and a warning-sign to those who want to arm-wrestle the mighty Men’s REC champions.
Penalties conceded: 6
A new chapter for Romania, as David Gérard's time as head coach of the five-time Rugby Europe Championship winners started on Sunday and his knowledge, was vital for the “Oaks”, especially in the discipline department.
The Romanians were the side with fewer penalties conceded from the first Round 1, provoking just a total of six, a low number for a team that in 2023 had an average of nine. The positive discipline helped Romania get an early lead and remain in control of the match flow, keeping Poland at bay until the final five minutes. It wasn’t an astonishing masterclass, but a side that keeps an almost clean-discipline bill is destined for greatness.
Round 1 Matches Stats
Stars and Scrums - The Official Rugby Europe Podcast
You can take a deep dive in all the action in the latest edition of S&S as we review week 1 in the men's and women's Championship.
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