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Monday, May 02, 2005

[Sport] Lists of Fury!

Bonus points are the dumbest idea ever. I looked at this issue and thought, “nope that aint dead, it could do with a bit more flogging.”

Now let’s have a look at some statistics.

Removing idiotic bonus points gives a Super 12 leaders table that looks like this:

  1. Crusaders
  2. Hurricanes
  3. Waratahs
  4. Highlanders
  5. Blues
  6. Bulls
  7. Chiefs
  8. Brumbies
  9. Reds
  10. Stormers
  11. Cats
  12. Sharks

The Crusaders and Hurricanes leapfrog the Warratahs because they beat them in the regular season. The Chiefs are ranked above the Brumbies on points-differential (because they haven’t play each other yet, ditto for the Sharks and the Cats). Ranking by victories and points differential makes sense, especially if you were going to add bonus points anyway.

I don’t think that you’ll be surprised to see the list of top point scoring teams in this years competition (except that the 11th placed Cats are only eight points shy of the defending champ):

Crusaders392
Waratahs270
Hurricanes241
Blues213
Chiefs213
Bulls203
Highlanders200
Brumbies194
Cats186
Stormers176
Sharks168
Reds156


So how many points have these teams given up? Let’s have a look (keep and eye out for the Crusaders):

Sharks341
Cats281
Crusaders248
Stormers225
Brumbies219
Reds217
Chiefs214
Hurricanes198
Bulls198
Blues169
Highlanders156
Waratahs146


Unsurprisingly the teams that are big on defence are at the bottom (Highlanders and Warratahs) and the “easy beats” are at the top (Cats and Sharks). But look at the leaky Crusaders at number three, why are they doing so well. This leads nicely to the two next lists…

Points DifferentialBonus Points(Four trys+Within 7)
Crusaders144Waratahs8 (6+2)
Waratahs124Crusaders7 (7+0)
Blues44Cats6 (2+4)
Highlanders44Bulls5 (4+1)
Hurricanes43Brumbies5 (3+2)
Bulls5Reds5 (3+2)
Chiefs-1 Chiefs4 (3+1)
Brumbies-25Stormers4 (1+3)
Stormers-49Sharks4 (2+2)
Reds-61Blues2 (2+0)
Cats-95Hurricanes2 (2+0)
Sharks-173Highlanders1 (1+0)

These last two lists are probably the most important. The Warratahs win games by a lot of points and do not lose by much and the Crusaders rack up heaps of points but lose big. The Blues, Hurricanes and Highlanders just win.

The points-diff table is crazy. Last year’s table was much closer with most teams clustered around ±35. This year, there are big outliers and the Bulls and Chiefs keeping the ledger almost balanced.

What does this mean? Well when making your Virtual Super 12 picks for this week I suggest (just going by the numbers above):

Blues v Hurricanes:
Hurricanes by less than 12, the Blues may get a four-try bonus-point.

Waratahs v Reds:
Waratahs by more than 12

Highlanders v Crusaders:
Crusaders by less than 12, maybe even by 1 [Big defence meets big offence normally means a win for the defence, but I’m picking the Crusaders with their points-diff]

Brumbies v Chiefs:
Chiefs by less than 12, infact I also pick this game to be won by 1 point just so the Chiefs will have a zero point -diff

Sharks v Bulls:
Bulls by more than 12, like shooting fish in barrel (Har-de-Har-har)

Stormers v Cats:
Like, who cares. No that’s nasty. Stormers by less than 12.

Please, do not make any bets on this information. And if you do, don’t come crying to me if you lose your house.

1 comment:

mike said...

I agree - bonus points have had their day and are a distortion. I guess the administrators were well-meaning when they introduced them to encourage more entertaining footie, and I guess it did work for a time. But now that every game is entertaining, none of them are entertaining.

I say fall back to your suggestion, where teams would still go for the big points anyway (to win the freaking game) or would still want to narrow the gap that they lost by (courtesy of their pride).

And also, much as I hate to say it, I think that Stephen Jones (the Welsh/English writer for the Times) is right when he said the S12 turns out slick backs but sick forwards. Getting rid of the bonus points would go some way to remedying that.