What’s In A Game? Scotland v New Zealand 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?

Analysis of game time against Australia is here, and for the match against Fiji here. For a look at the New Zealand fixture, read on.

In play x 47

Game time
32m 39s

Average duration

% of game time

Length of time of passages of open play:

  • 1s to 21s – 13 times (v Fij – 19)
  • 21s to 40s – 19 times (v Fij – 20)
  • 41s to 60s – once (v Fij – 7)
  • 1m to 2m – 12 times (v Fij – 8)
  • longer than 2m – twice (v Fij – 1)

The longest passage of ball in play was 2m 7s between the 63rd and 65th minutes of the game. It started from the kick-off following a New Zealand penalty and took in 24 passes, 14 rucks and 2 changes of possession (kick and knock-on) before it was ended by a loose pass from the All Blacks (ultimately a penalty was awarded for a deliberate knock-on by Scotland).

Scrums x 9

Game time
11m 36s

Average duration

% of game time

The majority of scrums ended in a penalty or free kick rather than being successfully completed with the ball played away – 6 out of 10 were penalised.

After Mr Pearce and Mr Berry were made quick decisions in this area in weeks one and two, Mr Murphy took a more tolerant approach to resets. That lead to a big increase in the average time spent on each scrum, jumping up from 57s and 51s (v Australia and Fiji respectively).

The apotheosis of this came in the 20th minute when a scrum arising from a maul turnover was reset twice before ultimately resulting in a free kick to Scotland – with the setpiece having taken 2 minutes and 30 seconds to get the ball back in play!

Penalties & free kicks (excluding goal kicks) x 21

Game time
10m 58s

Average duration

% of game time

There was also one quick tap from a free kick, bringing the ball back into play immediately.

All 21 of the penalties noted above were kicked to touch with 20 going out for lineouts and just one (from New Zealand) staying in play.

Goal kicks x 9

Game time
10m 53s

Average duration

% of game time

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

  1. New Zealand conversion – 74s
  2. New Zealand conversion – 80s
  3. Sotland conversion – 84s
  4. Scotland penalty – 41s
  5. Scotland penalty – 67s
  6. Scotland penalty – 72s
  7. New Zealand penalty – 72s
  8. New Zealand conversion – 34s
  9. New Zealand conversion – 83s

Lineouts x 27

Game time
10m 35s

Average duration

% of game time

There was also one quick lineout where the ball was immediately brought back into play.

Just 7 of the game’s lineouts originated from open play with the remaining 20 arising as a result of penalties that were kicked to touch.

Restarts x 10

Game time
4m 55s

Average duration

% of game time

All 10 restarts were kick-offs following scores.

Clock stopped

The match clock was also stopped on 17 occasions – 6 times in the first half and 11 times in the second – for a total of 18m 2s (compared to 15 occasions for 17m 32s in the Fiji game). Stoppages were for:

  • 9m 6s – injury / water breaks
  • 4m 47s – TMO
  • 3m 29s – replacements
  • 40s – talking to front rows

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 98m 52s of which the ball was in play for 32m 39s or 33%.

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