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Scoring rate. The USA scored a try every 89 seconds, 13th out of 21 teams. (1st was Fiji, 48 seconds)
Defense rate. The USA conceded a try every 66 seconds, 13th out of 21 teams (1st was New Zealand, 130 seconds)
Conversion success: 63%, 9th out of 15 (six other teams played too little to be counted. Their rate overall was 60.5%). Nine teams recorded rates of 58% to 67%. The best was Argentina at 78%.
How they score:
Pen and FK: The USA scored 24% of their tries from penalties and free kicks. This was quite low. Fourteen teams surpassed that with the top core team being Australia at 43%. Average was 29%.
Turnovers: The USA scored 24% of their tries from turnovers, just over the average of 22%. Only four core teams, Kenya, New Zealand, Fiji and Canada had higher percentages.
Restarts: Surprisingly, the USA scored only 11% of their tries from restarts – normally a set piece of strength. Average was 22% and the USA was last among core teams.
Scrums: The USA scored 21% of tries from scrums, third behind Samoa and Wales. Average was 15%. This highlights the issues related to the USA’s two-points loss to Samoa where the USA had a scrum with about a minute to go, but failed to score. This stat implies they had a good shot had they executed.
Lineouts: The only core teams to surpass the USA’s 18% are Wales and France, with 19%. Average is 10%.
Pen and FK: The USA gave up 26% of their tries on penalties, below the average and better than eight frequently-playing teams.
Turnovers: 23% of USA tries conceded were from turnovers, just 1 points above average.
Restarts: 26% of tries conceded came from here, above average.
Scrums: 15% of tries conceded started with a scrum, about average.
Lineouts: Only 9% of tries conceded were from lineouts, two points below average and below eight frequently playing teams.
Where the tries come from:
From inside own half: The USA scored 50% of their tries from inside their own half. That was 6th-best of all the teams that have played so far, but third among core teams (Kenya and France were ahead). The average is 43%.
From halfway to the ten-meter line: USA was 5%, among the lowest.
From the opposition 10-meter to the opposition 22-meter: USA was 24%, just under the average of 27%. The highest core team was Wales at 32%.
From inside the opposition 22: USA was at 21%, above the average of 18% and 4th among core teams.
The USA gave up the average of 43% of tries from inside their own half. The key stat for the Eagles was the 15% of tries given up from midfield, second only to France among core teams, and tied with New Zealand.
Fix the Restarts
The restart problems were mostly kicking the ball out on the full in the early going, and having their main jumps getting taken out in the air. This resulted in turnovers and free kicks to the opposition.
Hence the poor try numbers from restarts – they were turning ball over on restarts instead of scoring – and the very high percentage of tries given up from restarts – in part because they were giving up free kicks.
I also think that as the restarts continued to be a problem for the Eagles, the players have felt the pressure to make the restarts count. This has resulted in more mistakes.
All of this is shown in the low percentage of tries scored, and the high percentage of tries given up, from midfield.
So you’ve got a team that can string long phases of attack together. They can score from long-range, and they can score from defensive pressure. They have a good plan and good execution from the scrums and lineouts, and do well capitalizing on turnovers, but they have major problems at the restarts, and those problems are translating into points.
If the kickoffs can get sorted – the kicks on point, the catchers able to avoid contact, and the support there – then that can produce a major shift in USA fortunes.
Get the restarts tries scored and allowed to the league average, and you will net about an extra try per tournament, and give up a try less per tournament.
And given that the USA lost at least one game in every tournament so far by a try or less, that matters.