What’s In A Game? Scotland v Argentina 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, Fiji is here and New Zealand is here. For a look at the Argentina fixture, read on.

In play x 58

Game time
34m 28s

Average duration

% of game time

Length of time of passages of open play:

  • 1s to 20s – 13 times (v NZ – 13)
  • 21s to 40s – 18 times (v NZ – 19)
  • 41s to 60s – 8 times (v NZ – 1)
  • 1m to 2m – 8 times (v NZ – 12)
  • longer than 2m – twice (v NZ – 2)

The longest passage of ball in play in the game (and also the longest passage of play in any of Scotland’s Autumn Nations Series fixtures) was 3m 10s between the 17th and 21st minutes. It started from the kick-off following Argentina’s first try and took in 28 passes (all bar 2 of them for Scotland), 23 rucks (20 of them while the home side had the ball) and 4 changes of possession (1 kick and 3 ruck turnovers) before it was ended by Argentina kicking the ball to touch.

Goal kicks x 13

Game time
14m 46s

Average duration

% of game time

Game time taken for conversions varied from 48 seconds to 90 seconds. The solitary penalty kick at goal took 73 seconds from award to boot striking ball.

Scrums x 13

Game time
12m 51s

Average duration

% of game time

The largest number of scrums in any of Scotland’s ANS fixtures lead to the largest amount of game time taken up by this area of play. Mr Dickson did at least manage to improve on the average of 77s taken by the scrums in the match against New Zealand!

As now appears to be traditional, the majority of scrums resulted in a penalty or free kick – 8 out of 13.

Lineouts x 23

Game time
10m 11s

Average duration

% of game time

There were also 3 quick lineouts where the ball was immediately brought back into play.

9 of the game’s lineouts originated from open play with the remaining 14 arising from penalties that were kicked to touch.

Restarts x 15

Game time
4m 55s

Average duration

% of game time

There were a dozen kick-offs following scores which averaged 31s. There were also 2 goal-line dropouts (average 29s) and one free kick – taken as an up and under – which took 16s to bring the ball back into play.

Penalties & free kicks (excluding goal kicks) x 19

Game time
6m 4s

Average duration

% of game time

There was also one quick tap, bringing the ball back into play immediately.

17 of the 19 penalties were kicked to touch with 14 going out for lineouts and 3 (2 for Argentina and 1 for Scotland) staying in play. The Pumas opted to tap and go twice.

TMO x 1

Game time
1m 36s


% of game time

Due to the clock no longer stopping once it had reached 80 minutes the TMO discussion for Sione Tuipulotu’s yellow card was included in game time with the clock running.

Clock stopped

The match clock was also stopped on 12 occasions – 2 times in the first half and 10 times in the second – for a total of 18m 2s (compared to 17 occasions for 18m 2s in the New Zealand game). Stoppages were for:

  • 8m 53s – TMO
  • 3m 27s – injury / water breaks
  • 1m 31s – replacements
  • 1m 9s – talking to captains

Including the TMO intervention when the clock was still ticking, discussions between the officials, and their outcomes, took up 10m 29s in total.

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 102m 52s of which the ball was in play for 34m 28s or 34%.

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