With the Six Nations in full flow now and Ireland recovering from a 32-20 loss to England a statistic provided on Twitter by twitter handle name @blitzdefence shows that Ireland players have played 25% less than England players this year. Interesting statistic to say the very least.
So why do minutes matter ? England rugby players have according to the charts played 208 more minutes than Ireland players which is over 2 and half games more. When you break it down further as blitz defence he states that in the Guinness Pro 14 Irish players have played just 323 minutes on average which equates to just over 4 games. England players have played 552 in the Gallagher Premiership which is close to 7 games.
Does playing less actually matter?
In my eyes playing less of course does matter. Players albeit training would be lacking match practice. Club level rugby is different to international rugby it’s like the GAA played at a different pace. Look at some of the players that may not have played a lot of Pro 14 games for instance Johnny Sexton. Some may say yes keep him in cotton wool so he will be right for Ireland coming the first week in February for the Six Nations other may say give him game time so that match practice will help.
Personally, it can work both ways the player will either be fresh or will take a while to get up to the pace in games. I would rather see the players playing games so that they are match fit and ready to at international level once the international comes around.
Blitzdefence on his article on WordPress pointed out some time statistics regarding players. For instance he noted that Elliott Daly has played 19 games with 1472 minutes, Owen Farrell has played for his club Saracens 17 times this season equating to 1295 minutes. When compared to Ireland players it’s an astronomical difference the closet Irish players that come close to these are on around 800 .Johnny Sexton and Jacob Stockdale the players.
Amazing statistics really if you want some more of them head over to https://theblitzdefence.wordpress.com/2019/01/31/do-minutes-matter-minutes-played-this-season-by-6-nations-starting-xvs-englands-starting-team-have-played-25-more-rugby-than-irelands/