What’s In A Game? Scotland v Fiji 2022

Across the Autumn Nations Series, On Top Of The Moon will be analysing games to try and put some numbers on exactly what it is that we’re watching in Test rugby. How much time is the ball in play? And where do the minutes and seconds go when the ball is dead?

Last week’s analysis of game time against Australia is here. For this week’s look at the Fiji fixture, read on.

In play x 56

Game time
33m 20s

Average duration

% of game time

Length of time of passages of open play:

  • 1s to 21s – 19 times (v Aus – 14)
  • 21s to 40s – 20 times (v Aus – 14)
  • 41s to 60s – 8 times (v Aus – 6)
  • 1m to 2m – 8 times (v Aus – 8)
  • longer than 2m – once (v Aus – 2)

The longest passage of ball in play was 2m 46s between the 25th and 28th minutes of the game. It started from the kick-off following Fiji’s second try and took in 23 passes, 15 rucks and 4 changes of possession (a handling error and 3 kicks) before it was ended by a Fijian forward pass into touch.

Penalties & free kicks (excluding goal kicks) x 23

Game time
10m 7s

Average duration

% of game time

Only a single one of the penalties was tapped, with the remaining 21, plus one free-kick, all kicked to touch for a lineout – only one of these attempted kicks to touch (by Fiji) stayed in play.

Goal kicks x 7

Game time
8m 58s

Average duration

% of game time

Game time taken for each kick (from the point either a try or penalty was awarded):

  1. Scotland conversion – 62s
  2. Fiji penalty – 85s
  3. Fiji conversion – 88s
  4. Fiji conversion – 80s
  5. Scotland conversion – 83s
  6. Scotland conversion – 85s
  7. Scotland conversion – 55s

Lineouts x 31

Game time
13m 28s

Average duration

% of game time

There were also two quick lineouts where the ball was immediately brought back into play.

Just 10 of the game’s lineouts originated from open play with the remaining 21 arising as a result of penalties or free kicks that were kicked to touch.

Restarts x 7

Game time
3m 15s

Average duration

% of game time

There were 5 kick-offs following scores, one 22 dropout and 1 free kick from a mark. The kick-offs averaged 31s; the dropout took 32s; and the free kick from a mark took 9s.

Scrums x 13

Game time
11m 6s

Average duration

% of game time

Sequence of scrums in the game:

  1. FIJ – played away from scrum
  2. SCO – pen Fiji
  3. FIJ – pen Fiji
  4. FIJ – reset then played away from scrum
  5. SCO – free kick Scotland
  6. SCO – penalty advantage Scotland (try scored)
  7. SCO – penalty Scotland
  8. SCO – reset then played away from scrum
  9. SCO – penalty Scotland
  10. SCO – penalty Scotland
  11. SCO – penalty Scotland
  12. SCO – played away from scrum (try scored)
  13. SCO – penalty advantage Scotland. Advantage called over after 15m gain in ground (!)

Resets seem to have fallen out of favour somewhat – after only 1 reset last week there were just 2 this time round, with both Mr Pearce and Mr Berry seemingly preferring to make quick decisions about which side was causing instability in order to get the game moving.

Of the 13 scrum offences called across the two games so far in Scotland’s Autumn Nations Series it’s worth noting that all bar one have been awarded in favour of the side putting in the ball.

The only occasion so far when the attacking side has been penalised was an Assistant Referee’s call against Zander Fagerson in scrum number 2 against Fiji. OTOTM is no expert in the dark arts of the front row but this appears to have been a genuinely poor decision with Fiji’s loosehead, Eroni Mawi, angling in and the elder Fagerson driving straight up the pitch.

Clock stopped

The match clock was also stopped on 15 occasions – 3 times in the first half and 12 times in the second – for a total of 17m 32s (compared to 10 occasions for 9m 19s in the Australia game). Stoppages were for:

  • 7m 28s – injury / water breaks
  • 4m 53s – replacements
  • 3m 36s – TMO
  • 1m 35s – talking to team captains

Therefore the actual time that passed from the opening whistle to half-time and from kick-off in the second half to full-time was 97m 49s of which the ball was in play for 33m 20s or 34%.

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