France show England the way when it comes to try-scoring

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The Independent Online
At least England are consistent with their try-scoring - consistently low, writes David Llewellyn. From their Grand Slam in 1980, when they scored almost a quarter of the 41 tries in the championship that year, they have averaged (excluding this unfinished season) a modest 5.68 per Five Nations campaign.

It is not the lowest. That dubious distinction belongs to Wales whose paltry 4.5 earns them the try-scoring wooden spoon for that 16-year period. Only France have shown anything like try-scoring power with an impressive 8.75 average and a recent trend above that.

In the eight post-war years that a Grand Slam has been achieved, England's average was a sad 4.25, so perhaps it can be argued that they have shown a tendency to score more tries from the 80s, but it is extremely modest progress.

Their worst year in that period was 1983 when they managed just one try in their four matches, although in 1959 they drew a complete blank for the only time in their history. They have managed only two tries in a Five Nations season on five occasions since the war.

The overall record stands at 55, set in 1911.

Year Eng Fra Irl Sco Wal Total

1996* 2 8 6 5 5 26

1995 9 10 5 6 1 31

1994 2 9 1 1 7 20

1993 4 8 2 3 3 20

1992 15 10 3 4 2 34

1991 5 11 10 7 3 36

1990 12 9 4 6 5 36

1989 4 11 6 9 3 33

1988 6 8 4 6 7 31

1987 2 10 8 7 4 31

1986 5 13 5 7 4 34

1985 3 6 5 3 5 22

1984 2 9 1 10 5 27

1983 1 8 5 5 7 26

1982 5 5 5 7 4 26

1981 6 6 4 7 2 25

1980 10 7 6 8 10 41

1978 4 6 2 4 8 24

1977 5 8 1 4 7 25

1976 2 13 1 4 11 31

1971 4 5 6 7 13 35

1968 3 7 4 1 4 19

1957 7 4 4 1 5 21

1952 7 5 5 3 6 26

1948 2 9 10 3 5 29

1968's total of 19 tries is the lowest in the history of the championship. It was the last year kicking directly into touch was permitted between the 25-yard lines.

1993's total was blamed on the new ruck/maul law.

* The 1996 figures are up to and including this weekend's matches.

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