When Rob Howley announced Wales’ squad for the forthcoming 6 Nations, perhaps one of the most noticeable aspects of the squad makeup was the number of players included who ply their trade in the Aviva Premiership.
To see if this was indeed a developing trend, we looked back through 14 seasons of 6 Nations’ squads and looked at the contribution from each region and also those also playing outside Wales. This is what the data shows us.
Contribution for each year by region
The left hand Y axis shows the number of players in the initial 6 Nations squad.
What does this graph show us? Well, there are a few obvious things to pick out:
- The squad size has varied greatly over the past 14 seasons
- After a brief peak around 2006 the numbers of players in non-Welsh regions has steadily increased
- The Dragons have consistently contributed the fewest players of all the Welsh regions over the period
- The Ospreys have supplied more players for each squad than any other region over the period
- This season’s Scarlets’ contingent equals their joint highest contribution (2014 had the same name of Scarlets players in the squad)
Looking at some of these findings in a bit more detail:
Over the period we have analysed the squad size has varied from 37 to just 28, although the trend seems to be for bigger squads.
Contributions from England and France
As the first graph showed, the general trend is for more players from outside Wales to be picked in the Wales 6 Nations squad. If we break this number down in to its two categories – England and France, we get the following distribution:
Contribution by Welsh region
Which regions have contributed the most players over the period.
If we average this out for each season they have been in existence we get something for the Celtic Warriors fans!
And finally, which team has been the top contributing region for any one 6 Nations’ season?
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