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How Owen Farrell's tackling stats compare to Sexton, Ford, Biggar and Russell

By Ian Cameron
England’s Owen Farrell in training

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While some have branded England’s George Ford as a defensive liability, statistics suggest that it’s his midfield partner Owen Farrell that might be the one that needs a few post training tackling ‘extras’.


In fact, you’d have to go back to the start of the century to find a player that has missed more tackles in a single tournament.

Farrell has missed 17 tackles according to Opta in this year’s competition for England; only Luca Martin of Italy missed more in one tournament.

Martin missed a total of 20 in 2000.

Farrell had a tackle success rate of 73 percent during the tournament, just two percent less than his tackle success percentage in the Aviva Premiership, and in fact four percent higher than his 69 percent tackle success rate in the Champions Cup.

The Saracen made 47 tackles during the tournament (where he played the majority of time at twelve), which is significantly more than Ireland’s Jonny Sexton who made 31 tackles, missing six for a tackle success rate of 84 percent.

George Ford made 31 successful tackles, missing just four, for an impressive tackle success rate of 89 percent for the tournament.


Scotland’s Finn Russell beat both Sexton and Farrell with a tally of 34 tackles and eight misses for a tackle success rate of 81 percent.

Wales’ flyhalves were a mixed bag. Gareth Anscombe made 25, misses just one during the tournament, for a tackle success rate of 96 percent. Dan Biggar, on the other hand, made 20 tackles but missed six, giving the Northampton Saints bound flyhalf a tackle success rate of 77 percent. Rhys Patchell’s short time at 10 in the tournament saw him make nine tackles, missing just two which meant he was successful 78 percent of the time.

Lionel Beauxis posted a healthy 91 percent tackle success rate, although this came from just 11 total tackles attempts.

It should probably be noted that the son of Rugby League legend and defensive coach Andy Farrell does have some mitigating factors. His role as a ‘minder’ for the diminutive George Ford means he is often stretched in defence. It could also be argued he is an active defender who attempts more difficult tackles, many of which have a lower success rate.



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