Monday, 17 March 2014

The stats say on the ENC 1A 2014 season


A look at what the stats say about the current state of each team following the conclusion of the 2014 ENC 1A tournament.

Georgia continued to
dominate the ENC with a
7th title in 8 years and
4th consecutive title.

Georgia won their 4th consecutive ENC title and 7th in 8 seasons, and their first Grand Slam since 2011. They are currently on a 14 match unbeaten run in the tournament, and have just lost 2 of their last 38 matches dating back to 2007 (one of which was with a weakened team). They also haven't lost an ENC game at home for a decade, the last defeat coming in February 2004. In 18 games against Romania, after losing 7 of their first 9 they now have lost just 1 of their last 9 of the rivalry. They also recorded a record away win in Lisbon, the biggest win of this year's tournament against Belgium and continued their unbeaten streak against Russia. Georgia also achieved this with the youngest squad of the tournament, 31% of their starting lineups were aged 23 or under, in Europe only England had more young players this year.
Lynn Howells led the
Oaks to 4 easy wins but
again fell short one short
of a Grand Slam

Romania haven't won an ENC Grand Slam since 2002, for consecutive years they have failed to win only in the final match and it's the 7th time in 12 years they have finished on 4 wins. They also haven't won the title at all since 2010 and are on their longest drought of winning it. They had the best defence of the tournament only conceding 2 tries, their best defensive effort since 2003. The Romanians also beat Russia, Spain and Portugal comprehensively this year with an average score of 30-3, the largest average winning margin against those 3 since 2001. They recorded a record win over Russia and their biggest win over Portugal for 10 years. The Oaks have had the most consistent selection policy in Europe this season, using just 26 players over the 5 games.
Russia scored freely
against the bottom 3 but
can't buy a try against
Romania or Georgia

Russia lost to Georgia and Romania by a total of 57 points (the 34-3 defeat to Romania being their worst ever home ENC defeat) and conceded the most points in the tournament. But they also scored more tries than any side but Georgia, although against Georgia and Romania they have only scored 2 in their past 8 matches and averaged only 6 points per game. They now have not beaten a side ranked above them (top 18) for 25 matches, but equally in the their past 25 matches against sides ranked below them they have only lost twice. With Denis Simplikevich injured, Russia didn't have a single player under 25 in their starting lineup throughout the tournament.
Spain lost to Russia for the
10th time in a row

Spain used 44 players over the course of the tournament, more than any other side. They finished in the top 4 for only the second time over the past 6 seasons and became the first ever side to have finished bottom of the ENC and stay up the following year. They won their first game away in Portugal since 1995, but the losing streak against Russia is now up to 10 the losing margin over the past 4 fixtures has been 4, 4, 4 and 3. Since promotion in 2007 they have finished either 4th or 5th for 7 of the 8 seasons, 2012 remains the only time they have finished in the top half.
Portugal had another
forgettable season

Portugal have now won just 3 matches over the past 3 ENC seasons, in the 3 previous seasons they had won 8. They also finished this year's tournament with their worst points difference total since 2001 and suffered their biggest defeats to Russia and Romania for 8 years, their biggest ever home defeat to Georgia and first home loss to Spain for 19 years. Since the 2011 World Cup they have won just 2 from 20 matches against sides ranked in the top 25. Since the 2007 World Cup they have a win rate of 32% in the tournament, before they played in the World Cup it was 57%.
Belgium didn't win a game
but didn't get blown out
like past relegated sides

Belgium finished the tournament with an average loss of 14 points which makes them easily the most competitive relegated side in ENC history, the previous best relegated side had been Spain in 2003/04 with an average loss of 21 points. However their competitiveness dropped this year compared to last when they averaged a loss by 11 points, they also scored 8 tries last year, this year only 3. The relegated side yet again failed to win a game, since the two year relegation system came the side going down has only won 1 match (Ukraine vs Portugal 2012) from 70.


  1. Great summary Beeman!

  2. great article !
    why don't you do an article on the star team of the tournament? a 22 men squad consisting of the best of the ENC nations

  3. Great blog mate!