The recent discussion about the relative worth of players in comparison to their peers made me look up some stats on backrow players in Super Rugby. Unlike baseball, it appears to be more difficult looking for a specific skill that you want from a certain position. Apparently, it's not as easy as "make tackles".
This is what I had to work with:
- Clean Breaks
- Defenders Beaten
- Try Assists
Open play kicks
- Lineout catches
- Lineout steals
- Missed Tackles
- Tackles Success
- Turnovers Won*
- Turnovers Conceded
- Yellow cards
- Red cards
*Frustratingly for flankers, I could not locate that stat for every player. Suffice to say that this year Pocock was clearly the best at it, followed by Savea.
I took every player who had played more than four games and 200 minutes to exclude the outliers, worked out their involvements against the above measures per minute played and ranked them.
Then I realised that if you play against weaker teams, your stats are more likely to look good, so I normalized the data depending on their final ladder position, i.e. if you play the Kings and Sunwolves, you're more likely to rack up big carry metres etc. than you are if you're playing against those who made the finals...
And I got sidetracked.
So the ABs are a historically successful team, and have been for some time. Winning streak records, World Cups, etc.
And now it seems they have attracted the scorn of pundits and fans around the world. We've had commentary about their nefarious tactics (eye gouging, niggle off the ball, constantly infringing), their cozy relationship with referees, issues with 'attitude' and 'entitlement' (eg shagging birds in disabled toilets), and a general longing from most fans that they will flat out lose.
Here is my theory, and maybe it's stating the bleeding obvious... this treatment isn't so much to do with the ABs, in fact it happens to most, if not all, historically successful teams.
Admittedly I don't have a huge number of examples to support this, but here are a few off the top of my head:
Australian cricket team of the early 2000s - set the record for consecutive test wins, and the 'hard edge' they were lauded for early in Steve Waugh's reign became a lightning rod for criticism. They attracted a pretty solid opposition around the world for boorish tactics (esp from Hayden, McGrath, Warne, Ponting, Waugh).
Golden State Warriors, 2014-15-16 - Went from darlings of the league to the most hated team around, even before Kevin Durant signed. Draymond Green went from a tough player to a dirty player, and people began delighting in their failures.
Anyway, I'm at work so I'm sure there are others.
Just a thought.
NZ looking for Win Number
Ireland looking for win Number
The Dublin Duel. It's the ultimate revenge match. The banker. NZ always come back. This they're the underdogs.
Will they bark or bite?
Thoughts, scorn, empathy, snarling invective and snappy one-liners all welcome.
North Harbour v Tasman
Albany 7:35 PM 12 Oct
Matt McGahan, Matt Duffie, Matt Vaega, Michael Little, Tevita Li, Bryn Gatland, Chris Smylie; Murphy Taramai, Connor Collett, Glenn Preston, Chris Vui, Gerard Cowley, Sione Mafileo, Adrian Smith, Karl Tu'inukuafe
Reserves: Kalem Chan-Boon, Hani Fatai, Jethro Felemi, Hapakuki Moala-Liavaa, Kane Jacobson, Bryn Hall, Daniel Hilton-Jones, Afa Fa'atau
Mitchell Hunt, Viliame Lolohea, Alex Nankivell, David Havili, James Lowe, Marty Banks, Finlay Christie, Shannon Frizzell, Tevita Koloamatangi, Ethan Blackadder, Quinten Strange, Alex Ainley, Ross Geldenhuys, Andrew Makalio, Tim Perry
Reserves: Jesse MacDonald, Kane Hames, Siua Halanukonuka, TeAriki Ben-Nicholas, Braden Stewart, Billy Guyton, Kieron Fonotia, Caleb Makene
Taranaki v Auckland
New Plymouth 7:35 PM 13 Oct
1 Mitchell Graham, 2 Rhys Marshall, 3 Ryan Cocker, 4 Ben Matwijow, 5 Leighton Price, 6 Mitchell Brown, 7 Mitchell Crosswell, 8 Toa Halafihi, 9 Kylem O'Donnell, 10 Marty McKenzie, 11 Beaudein Waaka, 12 Johnny Faauli, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 14 Declan O'Donnell, 15 Stephen Perofeta
Reserves: 16 Sione Lea, 17 Jared Proffit, 18 Reuben O'Neill, 19 Lachlan Boshier, 20 Adrian Wyrill, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Sean Wainui, 23 Latu Vaeno
Melani Nanai, Lolagi Visinia, Rieko Ioane, Vince Aso, Pryor Collier, Simon Hickey (capt), Leon Fukofuka; Akira Ioane, Josh Kaifa, Steven Luatua, Michael Fatialofa, Scott Scrafton, Marcel Renata, Kurt Eklund, Sam Prattley
Reserves: Blake Hill, Tom McHugh, Isi Tu'ungafasi, Ben Nee Nee, Sinclair Dominikovich-Murray, Jono Hickey, Liam Steel, Latiume Fosita
Manawatu v Otago
Palmerston North 7:35 PM 14 Oct
1 Tukiterangi Raimona, 2 Travis Taylor, 3 Jake Ilnicki, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 5 Tom Parsons, 6 Antonio Kiri Kiri, 7 Callum Gibbins, 8 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 9 Kayne Hammington, 10 Otere Black, 11 Nathan Turdreu, 12 Hamish Northcott, 13 Jason Emery, 14 Ngani Laumape, 15 Curtis Ambrose
Reserves: 16 Hunter Prescott, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Kane Thompson, 20 Harrison Brewer, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Curtis Reid
1 Craig Millar, 2 Sam Anderson-Heather, 3 Donald Brighouse, 4 Josh Dickson, 5 Blair Tweed, 6 Adam Knight, 7 Lee Allan, 8 Naulia Dawai, 9 Josh Walden, 10 Scott Eade, 11 Matt Faddes, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 13 Sio Tomkinson, 14 Tony Ensor, 15 Michael Collins
Reserves: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Josh Hohneck, 19 James Lentjes, 20 Sione Teu, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Gavin Stark
Counties Manukau v Canterbury
Pukekohe 2:35 PM 15 Oct
Luteru Laulala, Sione Fifita, Sam Vaka, Cardiff Vaega, Toni Pulu, Piers Francis, Augustine Pulu (c), So'otala Fa'aso'o/Onosa'i Auva'a, Jordan Taufua, Jimmy Tupou (c), Matiaha Martin, Viliame Rarasea, Kalolo Tuiloma/Sean Paranihi, Hika Elliot, Pauliasi Manu
Reserves: Gafatasi Sua, Sean Bagshaw, Kalolo Tuiloma/Sean Paranihi, Matt Vaai, Onosa'i Auva'a/Viliami Taulani, Richard Judd, Joe Ikenasio, Sione Molia
Jordie Barrett, Johnny McNicholl, Jack Goodhue, Inga Finau, George Bridge, Ben Volavola, Ere Enari, Luke Whitelock [captain], Jed Brown, Tom Sanders, Dave McDuling, Scott Barrett, Siate Tokolahi, Ben Funnell, Alex Hodgman
Reserves: Tom Crozier, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Lee-Roy Atalifo, Reed Prinsep, Dylan Nel, Jack Stratton, Nathan Earle, Poasa Waqanibau
Hawke’s Bay v Bay of Plenty
Napier 5:35 PM 15 Oct
Shannan Chase, Matt Garland, Jonah Lowe, Tiaan Falcon, Mason Emerson, Ihaia West, Brad Weber, Fa'alemiga Selesele, Tony Lamborn, Trent Boswell-Wakefield, Geoff Cridge, Mark Abbott (c), Mason Kean, Ricky Riccitelli, Tolu Fahamokioa
Reserves: Ash Dixon, Jason Long, Jarvy Aoake, Josh Eden-Whaitiri, Hugh Renton, Chris Eaton, Billy Ropiha, Dan McIntyre
1 Aidan Ross, 2 Joseph Royal, 3 Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, 4 Keepa Mewett, 5 Culum Retallick, 6 Shahn Eru, 7 Henry Stowers, 8 Joe Tupe, 9 Te Aihe Toma, 10 Dan Hollinshead, 11 Regan Ware, 12 Teddy Stanaway, 13 Lalakai Foketi, 14 Monty Ioane, 15 Isaac Te Aute
Reserves: 16 James O'Reilly/Sebastian Siataga, 17 Solomona Sakalia, 18 Pingi Tala'apitaga, 19 Jeff Thwaites, 20 Matty Axtens, 21 Ruki Tipuna, 22 Kelly Haimona, 23 Chase Tiatia
Wellington v Waikato
Wellington 7:35 PM 15 Oct
Peter Umaga-Jensen, Joe Hill, Wes Goosen, Shaun Treeby, Salesi Rayasi, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Tomasi Palu, Hoani Matenga, Brad Shields (c), Vaea Fifita, Sam Lousi, Mark Reddish, Chris Baumann, Leni Apisai, Reggie Goodes
Reserves: Asafo Aumua, Vince Sakaria, Alex Fidow, Galu Taufale, Greg Foe, Sheridan Rangihuna, Pakai Turia, Mike Lealava'a
Waikato: Jordan Trainor, Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara, Willis Halaholo, Sam Christie, Sevu Reece, Damian McKenzie, Pele Cowley; Whetu Douglas (c), Adam Burn, Jordan Manihera, Brian Alainu'uese, Jacob Skeen, Atu Moli, Hame Faiva, Tau Koloamatangi
Reserves: Steven Misa, Sefo Kautai, Latu Talakai, Leva Fifita, Mitch Jacobson, Isaac Boss, Stephen Donald, Tevita Taufui
Tasman v Southland
Nelson 2:35 PM 16 Oct
1 Tim Perry, 2 Andrew Makalio, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 4 Alex Ainley, 5 Pari Pari Parkinson, 6 Shannon Frizell, 7 Shane Christie, 8 Pete Samu, 9 Billy Guyton, 10 Marty Banks, 11 James Lowe, 12 David Havili, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 14 Viliami Lolohea, 15 Mitchell Hunt
Reserves: 16 Jesse Macdonald, 17 Kane Hames, 18 Siua Halanukonuka, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Ethan Blackadder, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Alex Nankivell, 23 Caleb Makene
1 Joseph Walsh, 2 Brayden Mitchell, 3 Morgan Mitchell, 4 Joshua Clark, 5 Matthew Phillip, 6 Bill Fukofuka, 7 Tim Boys, 8 Mika Mafi, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 11 Mike Molloy, 12 James Schrader, 13 Dylan Collier, 14 Tauasosi Tuimavave, 15 Junior Ngaluafe
Reserves: 16 Jason Rutledge, 17 Shaun Stodart, 18 Guy Millar, 19 Mike Stewart, 20 Phil Halder, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Greg Dyer, 23 Wade McRae
Northland v North Harbour
Whangarei 4:35 PM 16 Oct
1 Namatahi Waa, 2 Matt Moulds (captain), 3 Phil Kite, 4 Epineri Uluiviti, 5 Shane Neville, 6 Michael Faleafa, 7 Kara Pryor, 8 Matt Matich, 9 Matty Marwick, 10 Peter Breen, 11 Monty Lama, 12 Dan Hawkins, 13 Warren Dunn, 14 Jordan Hyland, 15 Solomon Alaimalo
Reserves: 16 Ross Wright, 17 Howard Silitoto, 18 Matt Talaese, 19 Josh Larsen, 20 Jack Ram, 21 Malcolm MacLeod, 22 Tamati Tua, 23 Waisea Lawebuka
1 Nic Mayhew, 2 Adrian Smith, 3 Sione Mafileo, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 5 Brandon Nansen/Glen Preston, 6 Chris Vui (captain), 7 Connor Collett, 8 Murphy Taramai, 9 Bryn Hall, 10 Bryn Gatland, 11 Tevita Li, 12 Michael Little, 13 Matt Vaega, 14 Matt Duffie, 15 Matt McGahan
Reserves: 16 Ray Niuia/Vyron Smith, 17 Karl Tu'inukuafe/Jethro Felemi, 18 Hani Fatai, 19 Glenn Preston/Josh Tyrell, 20 Hapakuki Moala-Liavaa, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Daniel Hilton-Jones, 23 Afa Faatau
|TEAM||PLAYED||POINTS||STILL TO PLAY|
|Canterbury||8||35||Harbour (h)||Counties (a)|
|Taranaki||8||27||Wellington (a)||Auckland (h)|
|Auckland||8||27||Tasman (h)||Taranaki (a)|
|Counties||8||25||Otago (a)||Canterbury (h)|
|Tasman||7||22||Auckland (a)||Harbour (a)||Southland (h)|
|Waikato||8||20||Hawkes Bay (h)||Wellington (a)|
|Hawke's Bay||8||14||Waikato (a)||BOP (h)|
Some big games left amongst the the contenders (home team first):
Auckland vs Tasman
Counties vs Canterbury
Taranaki vs Auckland
Auckland with the hardest run in
Tasman can make up the most ground
Waikato need a bit of luck with other results
Waikato vs Hawkes Bay has become an important match after the Taniwha result. Waikato could get passed by HB in the final round if they drop this one
Technically Tasman could still drop but they just need a couple of bonus points to be safe.