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the dropkicks: rugby podcast

Monday, February 27, 2006
Week Three in Review
Three podcast episodes. Who would have thought it? That's three more podcasts than we ever thought we'd be able to manage. So, whatever happens now, we are, and always have been, ahead of our expectations.

Before launching into our predictions from last week and why things didn't work out the way we thought, or at least the way they should have, it is time to delve into some statistics. Statistics are good. Statistics are cool. Statistics make the world go round. Well, 84% of the time they do anyway. The other 16% is money. Love and other wishy-washy concepts don't come into it.

After Week 3:
- 23% of round robin games have been completed; that's 21 matches played: 8 wins to the home team, 12 wins to the visiting team and 1 draw.
- All of the Australian home games have resulted in wins to the away team (twice the away team has been another Australian teams and three times it has been a NZ team).
- Lome Fa'atau (the Hurricane wing; hurricane in more ways than one) has scored more tries on his own (5) than either the Stormers (4), the Blues (4), the Reds (3), the Force (2) or the Cats (1) have managed.
- The Brumbies have only conceded 1 try in three games; the Force have leaked 10.
- The Hurricanes have scored 13 tries; the Cats, as mentioned above, 1.
(Unfortunately, these next stats are only for the first two weeks - updated stats will, hopefully, be available later this week)
- The Force have the best lineout according to a straight wins-to-lineouts-contested ratio (who knew?): out of the 85 lineouts thrown in their first two games (by either team), they've snaffled 52 of them (or 61%); next best are the Cheetahs on 57%.
- On the same basis as the Force having the best lineout, the worst are the championship leaders, the Hurricanes - they've only won 36% of the lineouts in their matches (is there a moral in these last two statistics somewhere?). These statistics would be slightly skewed because the Force played the Hurricanes in the second match, and in that match the Hurricanes only threw 9 lineouts against the Force's 34.
- Technically, the best lineout is the Cheetahs - they've only lost 3 of 32 (or 9%) of their own throw, and snaffled 23% of their opposition's.
- Worst on their own lineout throw are the Reds - they've lost 9 of 36 (or 25%), although they have won 20% of the opposition's.
- Probably the worst lineout is the Brumbies' - they've lost 21% of their own throws and only managed to win 10% of their opposition's (which puts them equal worst on the opposition's throw with both the Cats and the Force).
- Best on the opposition's throw are Waratahs and Highlanders, who've both snaffled 24% of the opposition's throws (the Crusaders, Bulls and Cheetahs are close behind, all snaffling 23% of the opposition's throws).
- There have been 282 scrums in the first two weeks, of which 110 have had to be reset (i.e. 39%); that's a lot of wasted time.
- There were no strikes against the head in the first two weeks.
- The Crusaders kicked the least from general play (26 times); the Bulls kicked the most (75 times).
- The Chiefs were penalised the most (26 times over two matches); the Force were only penalised 12 times.

(Note there is a ridiculous dearth of Super 14 statistics on the interweb - oh for a web site along the lines of www.cricinfo.com or www.nfl.com; if we can find a good way to present all our stats for your viewing pleasure, rest assured we will do so.)

Onto a review of our predictions for the games in Round 3. In summary:
- We predicted the Hurricanes to beat the Cats by 13+: totally correct. It did take a bizarre touchdown by Isaia Toeava in the last seconds to do so, however: more in our next podcast.
- We predicted the Chiefs would do for the Force by 1-12: winner correct, margin wrong. Finally, we picked a Chiefs game.
- We picked the Brumbies to beat the Stormers by 13+: totally wrong. The first draw of the competition.
- We thought the Crusaders would thump the Sharks by 13+: partially right. It took a drop goal by Dan Carter to steal the win from a committed Sharks team. We didn't see that one coming.
- We thought the Reds would have the wood over the Blues by 13+ points: totally incorrect. Obviously we should do less thinking, although this game was more a case of the worst team lost than the best team won.
- We knew the Bulls would beat the Waratahs by 1-12: and, by God, we were right.
- If we thought the Highlanders would beat the Cheetahs by 1-12 points we would have been totally correct. As it was we were totally incorrect: we thought the Cheetahs would win by 1-12. Stupid try of the round by the Highlanders in the wet (I guess we shouldn't really complain, as the NZ team won).

Pick accuracy this week was again 4 out of 7 (or 57%, as it was last week). Grade: C. Must do better.

Coming up in podcast number 4:

A review of Week 3 of the Super 14

A review of other sport
What was on? Winter Olympics? Cricket? Rugby League? Something else?

A preview of Week 4 of the Super 14
- The Chiefs are finally back home after three away games; they're hosting the Reds, who managed to turn their fortress of Suncorp Stadium into the Welcome Inn - will they fare any better away from home?
- The Brumbies are back in Canberra to take on the Cats, who got closer to the Hurricanes last week than the score board showed.
- The Waratahs are also back home in Sydney to face the Sharks; can the Sharks back up their last game against the Crusaders with something similar this week?
- The Blues travel to Jade Stadium to try and keep their heads above water; they'll find the Crusaders a different kettle of fish to the Reds, however. Game of the round?
- The Highlanders continue their South African safari this week when they meet the Stormers in Cape Town.
- And finally the Hurricanes join their southern compatriots in the Rainbow Nation, facing the Cheetahs.

The Bulls and the Force have byes this week. (You can see the Force wiping their foreheads in relief from here.)

What else?
Athlete of the Week, Dick of the Week, No Pun Intended, some stats perhaps and maybe something a bit mystical if you've all been good boys and girls.

Virtual Super 14 Update

The Dropkicks dropped 25,535 places to be 43,865th thanks to managing all of 26 points. If 26 points was good we'd be happy. As it stands, 26 points is bad, so we're not.

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