6N 2015 – Spoiler alert

Ireland’s 19-9 victory over England in the Six Nations provoked many effusive and merited reviews, but it came despite Ireland’s lowest winning possession efficiency figure (0.32) in Six Nations matches since the 2011 World Cup. Ireland’s previous lowest winning efficiency rating in that period was 0.42 against France in the match that gave them the 2014 title, and they have lost and drawn a Six Nations match with higher efficiency ratings over the last three seasons, so exactly what happened in Dublin this year? Continue reading

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TRC 2013 – Can the Springboks take Eden Park?

Since they became world champions in 2011 and Steve Hansen took on the job as head coach, New Zealand have played 20 Test matches with an outstanding 90% win average. If that statistic isn’t impressive enough, they’ve put their wins together with an average 20-point winning margin while giving 16 Test debuts. Only Australia, who managed an 18-18 draw in Brisbane, and England, with a surprise 38-21 win at Twickenham, have spoiled an otherwise perfect record, but in 2013 South Africa have emerged as a threat to the All Blacks. In the Rugby Championship the Springboks have outscored them and sit at the
top of the table after three rounds, but New Zealand in Auckland in round four is the real test of their credentials – so how do the visitors step up from pretenders to victors? Continue reading

TRC 2013 – Down Under Pressure

At the end of round two of the 2013 Rugby Championship tGL revisited the possession efficiency metric we first investigated at the beginning of the year; a measure of how well a team coverts its percentage of possession into points and how that affects match results. We considered the major annual international tournaments, the Six Nations and the Rugby Championship, in the period since the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and the most notable finding was that Australia were one of the highest accumulators of possession, but were also one of the worst convertors of the 10 Test teams involved. The Wallabies’ round-three 38-12 home defeat against South Africa presented evidence why. Continue reading

Efficiency NOT an ugly word

Back at the start of this year during the Six Nations, tGL started looking at a new metric called ‘possession efficiency’ which quantified how well a team was turning its possession/territory percentages into points, and the dominant effect that factor had on match results. The opening round of the 2013 Rugby Championship supplied a pair of extremely efficient performances from New Zealand and South Africa and inspired tGL to revisit this interesting and significant statistic. Continue reading

Lions 2013 – 1st Test try analysis, part II

Kurtley Beale’s slip in the final moments of the first Test in Brisbane gave the Lions a narrow 23-21 victory and their first win a ‘live’ rubber on tour since they last stepped foot on Brisbane soil in Australia 12 years ago. On that occasion in 2001 at the Gabba, the Lions played high intensity rugby, dominated the kicking contest, outscored their hosts four tries to two and won 29-13. In 2013 at Suncorp Stadium it was just as compelling, with the outcome in the balance throughout as neither side controlled the match or played the other
out of contention. The difference in the end was the Lions’ superior goal kicking, but it was the match’s four tries, two on each side, that attracted much of the wider attention. Continue reading

Lions 2013 – 1st Test try analysis, part I

Kurtley Beale’s slip in the final moments of the first Test in Brisbane gave the Lions a narrow 23-21 victory and their first win a ‘live’ rubber on tour since they last stepped foot on Brisbane soil in Australia 12 years ago. On that occasion in 2001 at the Gabba, the Lions played high intensity rugby, dominated the kicking contest, outscored their hosts four tries to two and won 29-13. In 2013 at Suncorp Stadium it was just as compelling, with the outcome in the balance throughout as neither side controlled the match or played the other
out of contention. The difference in the end was the Lions’ superior goal kicking, but it was the match’s four tries, two on each side, that attracted much of the wider attention. Continue reading

Lions 2013 – Back three

On Friday 11 April, tGL posted the introduction to its 2013 Lions squad, talking about the most relevant criteria for assembling the players that will represent Britain and Ireland in Australia. Here is the final instalment of our squad, the back three, and the justification for our choices. As selection is subjective by its nature, if you agree or disagree, we welcome your arguments in the comments section below… Continue reading