Jump to main content
Smart Ball insights from Round 2 of the Summer Nations Series

Smart Ball insights from Round 2 of the Summer Nations Series

Smart Ball insights from Round 2 of the Summer Nations Series

Another weekend of Summer Nations Series rugby saw fortunes reverse for the four competing nations of Round 2.

England delivered an improved – albeit tumultuous – performance to beat Wales, and France edged Scotland on home soil, avenging their Round 1 loss.

With the insights generated by the Smart Ball and presented by Sage, we are able to take a deeper look at exactly how Round 2 played out.

Arguably the match of the Series so far, France vs Scotland saw two very contrasting styles of rugby pitched in a riveting contest.

The visiting side – as has become their modus operandi – accumulated an enormous 1,265 passing metres, the single largest total in a match this summer.

In contrast, France threw 76 passes to Scotland’s 171, fewer than half. France operate the definitive explosive attack in international rugby.

Their most lethal attacks are rupture events rather than the result of phase-based pressure.

Case in point was Charles Ollivon’s try. Thomas Ramos instinctively took a quick lineout and fed Antoine

Google Ad – 300×250

Dupont with a nine-metre pass, then receiving the ball back from the French skipper at 38.2kph.

Benefitting from his own ambition and invention, Ramos strode 48 metres downfield before releasing Ollivon over the try-line.

Ramos and Dupont – along with Romain Ntamack – are the spine of the French backline, collectively orchestrating their fluid attack.

With the virtuoso fly-half – a try-scorer on Saturday – now ruled out of the Rugby World Cup through injury, greater responsibility will fall on the other two-thirds of this talismanic tripartite.

However, the persistent threat and game management of Dupont and Ramos on Saturday – and throughout their international careers – demonstrate that Les Blues can continue to thrive
despite this blow.

In fact, these two were the most regular kickers for France at the weekend, making 176 and 154 metres of territory respectively.

This collective ownership of steering the French ship should allow a smooth transition into the side for Ntamack’s replacement, especially given the mesmeric talents of Matthieu Jalibert and Antoine Hastoy.

Another great example of game management came from England. Infamously reduced to 12 men at one stage of their contest with Wales – with neither of their starting halfbacks on the
pitch – the men in white wrestled victory from the jaws of defeat with precision and control in the final quarter, notably provided by George Ford.

Wales seized the lead for the first time in the match in the 59th minute, being awarded a penalty try forced by Dan Biggar’s vision. Having built a foundation of confidence and
momentum, Biggar’s crossfield kick travelled 43.2 metres with an impressive level of accuracy, giving

Josh Adams 3.4 seconds to claim the ball in the air. Illegally disrupted in the process of
scoring by Freddie Steward, the skill and precision of the Welsh backline allowed to referee to award them seven points.

However, as England’s numbers replenished, Ford was able to wrangle back control of the match, ultimately slotting the winning kick at goal.

A stand-out moment in Ford’s cameo was his deliverance of a trademark spiral bomb. The kick was in the air for 4.6 seconds, spinning with 98% efficiency at a rate of 372rpm; in other words, a nightmare catch for Liam Williams and Wales.

Williams’ error under this expertly pitched high-ball continued the England advance which saw them score despite being down to 13 men.

Ford’s performance may have been a positive of England’s performance – in a match often defined by bloody-mindedness rather than brilliance – but injury to the incumbent scrum-half Jack van Poortvliet is a concern for the men in white.

Veteran Ben Youngs achieved a narrowly longer average hang time on his box kicks (4.2 seconds to JVP’s 4.1), but his average pass speed of 33kph was inferior to his teammate’s 35.7kph. Will England miss this zip looking forward to the World Cup?

All that is certain is that the elevation of intensity in the Summer Nations Series is certain to
continue, particularly with South Africa, Fiji, and Romania making their debut appearances this

The likes of Siya Kolisi and Levani Botia will be itching to compete with the Rugby World Cup ever-closer, how will their upcoming summer fixtures shape their campaigns on the
biggest stage?

Previous Story Power Rankings after week two of Summer Nations Series
Next Story Scotland Rugby World Cup squad: Ritchie captain and McInally cut

More News

Fiji v England

Smart Ball insights from Round 4 of the Summer Nations...

1st Sep 2023
Smart Ball insights from Round 2 of the Summer Nations Series

Choose your Breitling #DefiningMoment of the Series 

1st Sep 2023
Choose Your Sage Play of the Series

Choose your Sage Play of the Series

30th Aug 2023