England’s Six Nations showdown against Wales promises to be a very tight game

The Guinness Six Nations continues tomorrow when England travel to face undefeated Wales in Cardiff.

The Welsh have beaten both Ireland and Scotland by adopting the same risk-averse strategy that characterised England’s Six Nations title win in 2020.

Independent Sport has teamed up with QBE Business Insurance to provide a unique look at a new data tool which shows how rugby teams trade off risk taking and risk mitigation in order to win the tournament.

Developed by QBE and rugby performance analysts, the QBE Risk & Reward Index goes deeper than conventional rugby analysis by considering the role that defensive and attack risk taking has through a number of key performance indicators.

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac has managed to combine an effective attacking output with strong defence – and his team are conceding fewer turnovers as a result.

England World Cup winner and QBE ambassador Lawrence Dallaglio, who is analysing the Risk & Reward Index for Independent Sport, says: “Wales have learned how to win rugby matches this season by tight margins with ruthless efficiency and, if they hold their nerve, they can beat England as well by employing the same game and risk management strategy.

“England under Eddie Jones will not change their playbook or key players, so expect more of the same – it will be a very tight game.”

England captain Owen Farrell needs to stop conceding turnovers if his team are going to have a chance of winning. Farrell has turned the ball over nine times in the tournament so far – 20% of the time he has had possession – compared to only two by Dan Biggar of Wales.

England will also have to improve their set-pieces with only 17% of their tries coming from set pieces (one lineout), less than half the tournament average, in their two matches so far.

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