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English rugby analyzes the key statistics coming into All Blacks Test

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rfu.com and James Mortimer     15 Nov 2013     Getty Images

Stuart Lancaster’s secured a 31-12 victory over Argentina on Saturday thanks to a powerful first-half display, especially from the pack. But they failed to maintain those standards for the second half and struggled in some areas of the game, making just one clean break and gaining a perhaps disappointing 4.3m per carry.

Against the world champions this weekend, though, there will be little room for error or dipping below the highest of standards, as can be seen in IBM TryTracker’s analysis of the game.

IBM’s Predictive Analytics software analyses historic and current rugby data provided by Opta, the world’s leading sports data provider, to provide valuable in-game stats. It gives viewers access to insights that will heighten their understanding of what to watch for in each game and explains what needs to be done to increase the likelihood of a team win against specific opponents.

The IBM TryTracker includes the ‘Keys to the Game’, which predict three crucial areas of performance specific to each team ahead of match day. If a side hits their target in these aspects of their game they will significantly increase their chances of victory. The data collected and provided by Opta for all England internationals is analysed by IBM, before being hosted on RFU.com.

England keys
• Successfully complete 92% of attempted tackles
• Make at least 5 line breaks
• Average 5.3m per carry

New Zealand are renowned for their ability to mix power, pace and precision in attack. With a team packed with world-class attackers, such as Israel Dagg, Ben Smith and Kieran Read, they will test England’s defence to its limits and pose threats all over the pitch. So it will be critical for England to cut down their opponents with strong first-up tackles on, or ahead of, the gainline. TryTracker has identified a 92% success rate on attempted tackles required by England.

Despite scoring four tries against Argentina last weekend, Stuart Lancaster will be demanding more from his midfield against the All Blacks. Owen Farrell, Billy Twelvetrees and Joel Tomkins will be hoping to play a central role in providing the creativity and incision for England to break through a fierce All Blacks defence. If England can create five line breaks, says TryTracker, they will be on their way to victory.

England failed to achieve their target of 5.5m per carry against the Pumas, making 4.3m on average, and they will have to up their performance in this area of the game against the All Blacks. With big ball carriers such as Billy Vunipola, Joe Launchbury and Mike Brown in their ranks, they have the potential to achieve the required 5.3m per carry.

New Zealand keys
• Make more than 26 kicks from hand
• Win at least 90% of their own scrums
• Force more than 15 turnovers

New Zealand's lethal running game may overshadow the quality of their kicking game at times, but they are as canny as teams come in terms of tactics. So if the conditions, or game situation, dictate Dan Carter and Aaron Smith will be more than ready to look to put the boot into England. And, according to TryTracker, 26 or more kicks from hand would pay off for New Zealand.

England delivered another powerful performance in the front five against the Pumas, and forwards coach Graham Rowntree has urged his pack to stamp their authority on their opponents this weekend. However, with loose heads Alex Corbisiero and Mako Vunipola missing through injury, the All Blacks will fancy their chances of securing at least 90% of their own scrums.

Richie McCaw will lead the All Blacks once again at Twickenham and he will, as ever, be key to their hopes of turning over England possession. The openside is a master at the breakdown and sets the tone for New Zealand’s uncompromising and aggressive defence. If he can help New Zealand to TryTracker’s target of 15 turnovers, the All Blacks’ lethal counter-attack could do the rest.