No, seriously – the north are coming!

Oliver Matthews Roar Guru

By Oliver Matthews, Oliver Matthews is a Roar Guru

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228 Have your say

    A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article that suggested that the gap between Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere rugby was closing if not closed.

    I used data from matches between the top six teams from each hemisphere from two years before and two years after the 2015 World Cup, where the south demonstrated their dominance by selfishly taking all four semi-final spots.

    While the article received positive feedback and certainly inspired a good amount of debate, there was one consistent piece of feedback that stood out regarding the teams included in the dataset.

    For those who haven’t read the original article, the focus was on the results when these teams went head to head:

    Southern Hemisphere
    New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, Fiji and Samoa.

    Northern Hemisphere
    England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy and France

    The British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand was also included, and boy did that incite some debate.

    (AAP Image/David Rowland)

    Some of the feedback suggested it was inappropriate to include Fiji and Samoa. Many pointed out that they didn’t have their own domestic leagues or decent structures in place. The feeling of several Roarers was that including these two sides heavily skewed the data in the favour of the north.

    It’s worth noting though that many of the Samoan and Fijian national players play their club rugby at some of the best clubs around the world and are exposed to top-level training, facilities, insight and competition week in week out.

    Thirteen of the starting 15 Fijians who played tn their recent northern tour play in the top English or French leagues and many are also playing in the European Champions Cup or European Rugby Challenge Cup. That’s not to say that this replaces the value of a solid competitive domestic league, but let’s not kid ourselves – the Samoan and Fijian players are not stuck at second-rate clubs in third-tier rugby nations.

    It’s also worth noting that the overall debate is about comparing the hemispheres. Yes, the focus has definitely been on head-to-head results between nations to create the data, but there is a broader context here that is being considered: how is each hemisphere performing as a whole.

    But it is interesting to see what happens if we do remove some of the weaker sides from both hemispheres and review the data. So here we go – two years of internationals either side of the 2015 World Cup with matches between the following sides considered with their rankings:

    Southern Hemisphere
    New Zealand (1), Australia (4), South Africa (6), Argentina (8)

    Northern Hemisphere
    England (2), Ireland (3), Scotland (5) and Wales (7)

    2017
    12 matches
    South: three wins (25 per cent)
    North: nine wins (75 per cent)

    2016
    20 matches
    South: eight wins (40 per cent)
    North: 12 wins (60 per cent)

    2014
    19 matches
    South: 11 wins (58 per cent)
    North: eight wins (42 per cent)

    2013
    13 matches
    South: eight wins (62 per cent)
    North: five wins (38 per cent)

    In the discussion on the previous article many people were suggesting that one of the major points to consider is that a lot of Southern Hemisphere players and coaches are moving North and helping to improve both club rugby and international rugby. While it might be absolutely true that we’re seeing more players of Southern Hemisphere heritage turning out for Northern Hemisphere teams, it’s worth noting a couple of things.

    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    First, France – a common destination for talented players from Southern Hemisphere countries – is not included in the above numbers. Second, it further supports the case that rugby in the north is on the charge if they are able to support domestic competitions that can attract talent from the south with the promise of bigger salaries and good quality rugby.

    It’s easy to scoff and say that the north’s success owes a lot to Southern Hemisphere talent, but nowhere in the record books will there be a note that says that England’s current winning streak over Australia is all down to an Australian coach and nowhere on the Web Ellis trophy is there a footnote that explains that the holder won because French clubs were able to pay more cash to their players.

    It’s also fair to say that the Southern Hemisphere teams are far from dead and buried. New Zealand are still by far and away the best rugby nation on the planet and Australia and South Africa have plenty of quality upon which to rebuild success. We’re also two years away from the big dance in Japan, where we’ll really be able to see if the north’s progress has amounted to anything.

    But this past year has demonstrated in great clarity in both Australia and South Africa that the underlying structures and processes that help to grow quality rugby are broken. Without quickly fixing them both these giants of the world game are going to fall further and further behind.

    Make no bones about it, the north are coming.

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    The Crowd Says (228)

    • Roar Guru

      January 19th 2018 @ 4:18am
      Poth Ale said | January 19th 2018 @ 4:18am | ! Report

      No such thing as North or South in rugby. They don’t play each other.

      It’s individual records you need to look at it over a period of time. Results since RWC 15 are meaningless. You need at least a decade to see any useful trends because matches are played so infrequently and home/away is skewed.

      Besides all that, any of the teams from the Six Nations that you’ve selected have at least half their squads filled with SH players. They’re also coached by SH coaches.

      Is the revised data telling us anything new?

      • January 19th 2018 @ 5:19am
        Taylorman said | January 19th 2018 @ 5:19am | ! Report

        I fail to understand why so many northerners take the view that there is no northern and southern rugby. Of course there is.
        The divide has obvious traits. North and south have different seasons. North play the Six nations every year. South play the RC. Neither play in each others comp.
        North have their own club comps, as do the south, bar the exception of whatever the Kings are doing.

        North send teams south, south send teams north, both occur at the same time.
        North don’t tour the north, they do the south. South don’t tour the south, they do the north.
        If you can’t see such an obvious divide then you’re obviously in some sort of denial for some reason.

        Every year the scheduling decides who’s going to travel north to play , and who’s going to tour south to play.

        The only blur might be that within all that, southern coaches and players blot the landscape of the north at all pro levels.

        So if it’s about individuals, it’s only about individual players and coaches, not teams, for there is a clear demarcation there.

        Again I take umbrage at the title Oliver, the north aren’t coming. I don’t see them here. It is the south that is going…north.

        Your analysis completely fails to include analysis of the players unavailable to southern side selections.

        For instance, there are more All Blacks since 2008 playing northern club rugby than there are playing Southern, and that includes the entire current AB squad in those numbers.

        So we have access to half the ABs that could potentially play. Regardless of the reasons, that impact is significant.

        Consider this. Getz Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England to place fifty internationals each since 2008, doesn’t matter which ones, in the SH comps, then do a test comparison. And that isn’t taking our players back.

        Yes it’s our choice not to play them but I’d say asking a northern based club to release a player for full playing international rugby… fifteen tests… would be unacceptable to clubs.

        Anyway, same argument different day.

        Agree with Pot in one respect, it’s not North vs south, it’s North/ south vs south.

        Sure the stats won’t include those considerations but is having your head in the sand all day a fun alternative?

        • January 19th 2018 @ 5:28am
          P2R2 said | January 19th 2018 @ 5:28am | ! Report

          I think you have it wrong mate….South dont tour the South…what the heck is the RC if it is not a TOUR…

          • January 19th 2018 @ 9:31am
            taylorman said | January 19th 2018 @ 9:31am | ! Report

            ok…Scotland dont play in the RC…why…because they are from the north…does that work?

            are the semantics that important?

            • January 19th 2018 @ 5:56pm
              Mmmmm..k said | January 19th 2018 @ 5:56pm | ! Report

              Taylorman.
              It’s not North vs South.
              It’s one country vs another.
              Yes we have comps that we play in but Super Rugby includes Japan and the last time I went to Japan it was in the NH.
              The RC doesn’t include a team from the NH but I’m pretty sure Fiji, Tonga and Samoas annual tourney does.

              You seem obsessed with the hemisphere thing as if Fijians playing in Japan or France is somehow different from them playing in Aus or NZ.
              It’s no different. It’s players from Fiji going to another country to play rugby.

              The NBA is in the NH and players, if they are good enough, go there to play. Yet in Basketball there is nobody arguing that the NH steals players or that it’s North vs South.

              Actually this is unique to rugby as far as I know. I will go even further, its unique to union because in league it’s not a thing.

              Now you can say that it is because of seasons and local comps but, and I stress, other sports have the same seasons and local comps but they don’t have the North vs South obsession.

              Now, you can go on to say that “the North” is somehow cheating because they have hired coaches and players from “The South” but, as stated, there is no North vs South and all that’s happening is entities are hiring the best to improve them and theirs.

              As for Pots suggestion that we must go back decades to see any true trends, I disagree.
              It’s of absolutely no use looking at the 90s to indicate trends happening today. Why look at players, teams and coaches from decades ago? The entire point is that it’s changing from those times, that the last few years are different in comparison to a decade ago, that’s the trend.

              I have no doubt that the best rugby coaches and knowledge around today comes from NZ and Australia (not SA really). That’s because our way of doing things over the last 25 years or so, has been the best. That’s not a hemisphere thing, it’s a country thing.
              I would suggest that the best rugby brains of the next 20 years won’t include many Australians and will include more English, Scottish and Irish.

              Back to the idea that the North doesn’t tour the North. Do they not tour Japan?

              Anyway, I see it as country vs country. We are not in any hemisphere based tribe or treaty. It’s all just NZ vs whoever to me and I hold no grudge against any country that NZers chose to play in, no matter which sport it is.

              The only grudge I have is against World Rugby for supporting bigger nations that exploit smaller nations.

              Fijians should want to play for Fiji etc.

              • January 19th 2018 @ 7:00pm
                Taylorman said | January 19th 2018 @ 7:00pm | ! Report

                Japan?
                What’s Japan got to do with anything. This has been going on for over a hundred years. Where has Japan been in all this?
                Nowhere.

              • January 20th 2018 @ 7:57am
                Mmmmm..k said | January 20th 2018 @ 7:57am | ! Report

                Where has Japan been?
                In the NH.

                But TM, it hasn’t been going on for over 100 years.
                The 3 Nat’s started in the 90s and shortly before that NZ, Aus and SA toured each other. Yes, the South toured the South just as it toured the North.

                Imo you need to let go of your feeling of ownership of players from our hemisphere.
                Acknowledge that rugby, like all major pro sports, has players from all over the world playing where the greatest financial benifit is.

                I too have a problem with players from smaller countries playing for bigger countries for gains in life. Be it financial or otherwise.
                Imo Naholo, Koroibete, Speight, Hughes, Fafita and others should not be allowed to play for any other country other than where they are from and imo World Rugby needs to support smaller nations to a much greater extent in order for these players to want to chose their own countries.

                I find it very hypocritical that you act as if the North steals players when NZ has a system where guys like Naholo, Fekitoa, Laulala, Fafita and many others are offered an education, then money, then prestige to play in and ultimately for a country other than their own.
                Aus is often less discreet and targets older players but now has a Fijian side in its national comp that it surely will poach from in the future.

                So to point at Eng and say that they’re somehow cheating because fringe players like Hughes, Teo and Rokaduguni are from the South whilst NZ has Naholo, Fafita and Laulala is hypocritical, considering NZs imports play a much greater part in their team, your team.

              • Roar Guru

                January 19th 2018 @ 10:24pm
                Poth Ale said | January 19th 2018 @ 10:24pm | ! Report

                Mmmk – I didn’t say that you had to go back decades. I said that you need to look at a decade’s worth of results for comparison as not many matches are played – home and away. I’ve done that below covering 2008 to 2017 – split into two 5-year periods. And the individual records are more revealing than clumping them all together.

          • January 19th 2018 @ 11:20am
            Muzzo said | January 19th 2018 @ 11:20am | ! Report

            Mate I wouldn’t class a Super franchise, as tourists, as they only play 3, maybe 4 games, in a row away, & sometimes in different countries. A tour in my view, is, as it was in days gone by. That is up to & over 12 games, in a particular country. Do you even remember the treks of the Veldt, P2R2? A tour, really is something like the BIL, did in NZ last year, but then that was a short tour.

        • Roar Guru

          January 19th 2018 @ 5:44am
          Poth Ale said | January 19th 2018 @ 5:44am | ! Report

          my View is that NH v SH collective comparisons are practically useless. They hide good and abysmal performances by individual teams.

          Hence my scorn for these general north v south comparisons. Waste of time.

        • January 19th 2018 @ 6:18am
          Dan54 said | January 19th 2018 @ 6:18am | ! Report

          Sorry Taylorman, I don’t see what it has got to do with anything how many players from south are up north, if as in NZs and most Aus players, if they are playing in the North they are no longer Southern hemisphere players. All Oliver is correctly saying is that the NH teams are getting stronger, for whatever the reason, and I think to put it down to SH players going up there is ignoring fair facts. It could also point how well rugby is run in NH that they are able to attract our players, and before you say it’s only for the money, that is also part of running rugby well is to be financial. I am not sure if you watch European cup etc etc on TV, it is good rugby played well with a combination of players and styles. The other reason I personally belive rugby up north has improved is a lot to do with the grounds that are played on, modern grounds are almost alway well drained etc, and I can’t reall recall the last game I saw from NH where the ground was just a mudhole that they used to play on, so players are able to play with a lot more freedom etc now.
          The other thing I will say ,isn’t it good that they are coming? The more stronger teams the better for me.

          • January 19th 2018 @ 10:15am
            taylorman said | January 19th 2018 @ 10:15am | ! Report

            Nothing wrong with stronger teams, just dont hold the view that Northern rugby is getting stronger because although it might be, a lot of it is smokes and mirrors.

            Even now I read Gary Mercers son is a possible for back up at no. 8 to the England squad. If the rugby is that good, which do they need a Kiwi League International.?

            Why, because they have no depth internally, thats the only possible reason.

            • Roar Guru

              January 19th 2018 @ 12:10pm
              Poth Ale said | January 19th 2018 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

              How does one example (a wrong one btw) of a possible backup that you misread prove that it is smoke and mirrors, Tman?

              Have you looked at the squads that have just been announced for the Six Nations? Are you saying that none of them have any depth?

              PS Why do you think Zach Mercer is a Kiwi league international? He’s the son of Gary Mercer. Born in England, grew up in Scotland. Plays for Bath.

            • Roar Guru

              January 19th 2018 @ 12:11pm
              Rugby Fan said | January 19th 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

              I did a quick check, and I can confirm that Gary Mercer hasn’t been named to the England squad.

              His son, Zach, who isn’t a former Kiwi League international, is in the squad. That’s Zach, who was born in England. If any other country wanted to lay a claim to him, then Scotland would probaly be next in the queue, since that’s where he played a lot of early age group rugby.

              If Zach Mercer is regarded as a no-go for England, then a lot of New Zealand supporters are going to have to revise the claims they regularly make here. We are regularly told that it is fine to select All Blacks from Pacific Island families because many were born in NZ, or at least played all their rugby there.

              I happen to agree but if any New Zealander wants to take the stance that Zach Mercer is off limits for England, then it seems only right that New Zealand’s heavy reliance on Pacific island players should be treated the same way.

              • January 19th 2018 @ 1:19pm
                taylorman said | January 19th 2018 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

                Yeah because we get a lot of League and Rugby internationals from the Islands huh Rugby.

                They’re all just lined up with their test jerseys and caps at the airport waiting to become All Blacks.

              • January 20th 2018 @ 6:25am
                richard said | January 20th 2018 @ 6:25am | ! Report

                Tman got this wrong.No one is seriously questioning Mercer;s place in the England team.His mother is English and he wasborn there,so he is a pom.

                But,as to your point re NZ’s “heavy reliance on islanders: – this is a really tedious argument trotted out,particularly in the north.You are aware most of those islanders are born in NZ?We have every right to pick them.

              • Roar Guru

                January 20th 2018 @ 11:49am
                Rugby Fan said | January 20th 2018 @ 11:49am | ! Report

                I think we agree, Richard. New Zealand is fine on that count and so are England with Mercer, If T-man wants to blackball Mercer, however, then, to be consistent, he would need to blackball those pacific island heritage players born in NZ. Which would of course be daft..

              • January 20th 2018 @ 11:57am
                richard said | January 20th 2018 @ 11:57am | ! Report

                Yep,can’t argue with your logic.

            • January 19th 2018 @ 12:16pm
              Peter said | January 19th 2018 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

              Brad Thorn, Australian league international and All Black? Israel Folau ditto and Wallaby? If the rugby was/is that good, why were they needed? Or John Muggleton as Australia’s defence coach? Cherry-picking, anyone?

              • January 19th 2018 @ 5:26pm
                Jacko said | January 19th 2018 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

                If the league is so good why do they buy all the Union juniors?

            • January 19th 2018 @ 9:08pm
              adastra32 said | January 19th 2018 @ 9:08pm | ! Report

              So Zach Mercer is a Kiwi League International? I’ll have a large order of what you are imbibing…it’s clearly mind-altering in a major way. Oh yes, and please no hail of equally irrational ‘fact’ in response, which is what usually happens.

            • January 21st 2018 @ 8:02am
              FunBus said | January 21st 2018 @ 8:02am | ! Report

              Zach Mercer a Kiwi League international?🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂

        • Roar Guru

          January 19th 2018 @ 9:00am
          Oliver Matthews said | January 19th 2018 @ 9:00am | ! Report

          I’m not quite sure what your point is here Taylorman. Firstly considering players not available to play internationals because they’ve chosen to play in the North is totally down to the ARU or NZRU’s own policies. They could easily change that policy if they wanted but they don’t.

          Plus I really don’t believe that the Kiwis would have benefited that much in terms of results if they had all the potential players available for selection. They lost one game in the 2017 to 2013 period to one of the top 4 European sides – would they have beaten Ireland in Chicago if they had been able to choose from all of their potential players? Was that the reason behind the loss? Cause that’s all the data here is focused on – wins and losses. Sure scores might have been different but they couldn’t really have expected a better series of overall results.

          For the Wallabies and Boks the argument probably holds more water as they’ve lost a fair bit of talent to Europe. But still that is their decision. England have a similar rule and lost some serious talent during 2014 and 2015 when players like the Armitage brothers and Nick Abendanon were carving up European club rugby but were not eligible for selection. But that was the RFU’s decision – not something forced upon them by World Rugby.

          So I’d say that again shows that the North is in a better position – they are coping with those types of policies better than the South.

          I think you’re the one with your head in the sand mate if you’re choosing to believe that the only reasons the North are doing well is because of Southern imports or policies that the South just can’t possibly do anything about.

          Like I say – the current pattern means little if the European teams don’t turn it into silverware but the indicators are there.

          • January 19th 2018 @ 9:36am
            taylorman said | January 19th 2018 @ 9:36am | ! Report

            So your figures have showed since 2015 showing a NH improvement.

            Are you saying having Nonu, Smith, DC, Piutau, Cruden, Faumuina, Luatau in our squad or available would not have increased our changes of winning Chicago, the Lions or in Brisbane one iota?

            And what happens World cup time, the NH fail miserably. Why, because the SH get better access to their players than they normally do. In between our guys are all over the place, but come World cup time, the wheels fall off the north. That might not happen this time, because for the first time, our players are accepting that non World cup involvement is acceptable.

            • January 19th 2018 @ 10:17am
              Dan54 said | January 19th 2018 @ 10:17am | ! Report

              That argument doesn’t stick TM, hell Nonu, Carter and Smith were all retiring from international rugby anyway, so we wouldn’t have ever had them, and I seriously doubt whether they would be international players if still available anyway.

              • January 19th 2018 @ 10:31am
                taylorman said | January 19th 2018 @ 10:31am | ! Report

                Really, Nonu played the best year of his career in 2015. He’s suddenly chopped liver six months later?

                You’re suggesting that with our midfield issues over the last two years he wouldnt have made one iota of a difference. Yeah sure.

                And yeah 3-400 test caps in the squad would have just been water carriers, ok then.

                And if there were no NH rugby they would still be here playing, and competing for the jersey. And you don’t mention Cruden, Faumuina- both certain 23 AB positions.

                Its you that isn’t making any sense.

              • January 19th 2018 @ 11:13am
                Jacko said | January 19th 2018 @ 11:13am | ! Report

                I dont see how two SH teams being Pi$$ Weak at the moment in Aus and SA means the North is getting stronger
                The current top 6 has 3 NH and 3 SH teams…The current top ten has 5 NH and 5 SH teams in it……And this is pretty much standard ove the past 20-30 years…Does the top 3-5 change??? Of course they do but if the North is coming then its only to visit….They aint winning in the South…and they aint dominating the South…

                They have massive $$ compared to the south…they have massive player numbers compared to the south and yet the poor little old South keeps winning

            • Roar Guru

              January 19th 2018 @ 11:07am
              Oliver Matthews said | January 19th 2018 @ 11:07am | ! Report

              I’m saying that even if Nonu, Smith, DC, Piutau, Cruden, Faumuina and Luatau play for the ABs at best it would have allowed them to win just one more game against the top 4 from the Northern Hemisphere. I can be 100% certain that the very best they would have been able to do in terms of changing a result is to have helped the ABs win just one more game since 2015 against the Northern 4. How can I be that sure? Because they only lost one game without those players!

              So yeah sure – the ABs might well have scored more points and conceded fewer with those guys but a) there’s no way to know if that’s true and b) it makes zero difference to the point that the Northern Top 4 have been performing better in the past two years than previously.

              • January 19th 2018 @ 11:22am
                Jacko said | January 19th 2018 @ 11:22am | ! Report

                So its not the North coming to beat the South…Its the North coming to beat SA and AUS then Oliver???

              • January 19th 2018 @ 11:24am
                taylorman said | January 19th 2018 @ 11:24am | ! Report

                Makes no difference to you but your entire article is about a trend, then suddenly you back it up with a specific instance?

                Im saying the trend is the north is snatching up higher quality players, ones that in the past we wouldnt have been concerned so much about.

                But now we are. Even this week Kaino, Messam are touted to Toulon, and even today England are looking at a Kiwi League international at no. 8.

                Those two very examples squash the theory that the north are getting stronger- they wouldnt need to do either if that were the case. They would have filled from within. And its not just because its France, that would have just been the higher offer.

              • Roar Guru

                January 19th 2018 @ 12:15pm
                Poth Ale said | January 19th 2018 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

                Zach Mercer. A Kiwi League International??

              • January 19th 2018 @ 1:44pm
                Phil said | January 19th 2018 @ 1:44pm | ! Report

                Oliver,I am not sure where some of these criticisms of your article are coming from(especially Tman,who I normally respect).To me,there is no doubt the Northern teams have improved out of sight since RWC 2015,especially England,Ireland and Scotland,although Scotland were starting to show it at the RWC(my Wallabies a trifle lucky there!).
                It doesn’t really matter the reason,and I am sure it’s a combination of things.I must say I am really enjoying watching the European Cup games,Pro 14 and Aviva.I am sure having such strong competitons week in,week out is also a big factor.

              • January 19th 2018 @ 6:00pm
                Perthstayer said | January 19th 2018 @ 6:00pm | ! Report

                Oliver – Enjoyed your article.

                T’man

                I think the W/L numbers scare some SH rugby folk who in turn seek to manipulate the argument to make themselves feel better because in their hearts they know the raw data cannot be manipulated.

                The reasons behind NH improvement remain in play, and they are set to remain so until at least RWC. I think NH improvement will continue and the RWC will be very different to the last one, and I include ABs in that statement.

              • January 19th 2018 @ 7:02pm
                Taylorman said | January 19th 2018 @ 7:02pm | ! Report

                Yep ok, you know that is what they said at the last World Cup don’t you?

              • Roar Guru

                January 20th 2018 @ 12:01pm
                Rugby Fan said | January 20th 2018 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

                No-one said it in 2007, though, but New Zealand and Australia still got unexpectedly knocked out at the quarter final stage. Sometimes, predictions are wrong.

                After 2007, commentators like Lynagh & Fitzpatrick said the outperformance of the north was down to tough knock-out competitions at home, That didn’t hold water for very long. In the same way, when the Rugby Championship sides filled the semi-final spots in 2015, this was seen as a sign of hemisphere dominance. Within 12 months, all four sides had lost to northern opponents.

                Predictions and trend extrapolations have been known to come up short in sport.

              • January 21st 2018 @ 9:28pm
                Taylorman said | January 21st 2018 @ 9:28pm | ! Report

                Yep. Agree with that. And the NH are usually on the wrong end of that one that’s for sure.

                And remember, not one home Union has beaten the ABs in a World Cup match. A staggering statistic given we had 24 years of rubbish. Reminds of the Welsh of the 70s.

                Supposedly great side, couldn’t beat some of the worst AB sides of all time.

              • January 22nd 2018 @ 7:54am
                FunBus said | January 22nd 2018 @ 7:54am | ! Report

                So it’s a weakness of the NH that during that ‘24 years of rubbish’ you often didn’t stay in the tournament long enough to be knocked out by a NH team?

              • January 22nd 2018 @ 9:31am
                Taylorman said | January 22nd 2018 @ 9:31am | ! Report

                History says they would have beaten those sides FB. Because they have every time. You seem to be saying your teams would have won the ones they never played, ha ha, how… convenient.

              • January 22nd 2018 @ 7:11pm
                FunBus said | January 22nd 2018 @ 7:11pm | ! Report

                You think you’d have beaten England in 2003, despite losing to them twice in the previous 12 months and being hammered by the Aussies?

              • January 22nd 2018 @ 10:28pm
                David said | January 22nd 2018 @ 10:28pm | ! Report

                Of course Tman thinks that, Fun Bus.

                He’d probably be wrong, but he certainly thinks that.

              • January 23rd 2018 @ 9:51am
                ClarkeG said | January 23rd 2018 @ 9:51am | ! Report

                It’s appropriate that the Bus narrows it down to Eng because in those WCs he talks of where NZ “did not stay in the tournament long enough to be knocked out by a NH team” only England (of the Home Unions i.e.) would have had the opportunity to defeat them if they had progressed in those tournaments.(1991,2003,2007).

                “You think you’d have beaten England in 2003”?…well certainly not after the semi but prior to the tournament…why not? NZ had lost twice to Eng in 12 months previously by a collective total of 5 points…the first at Twickenham with 7 players making debuts.

                Had NZ defeated Eng in each of the 3 previous WCs…yes they had.

                1991…would NZ have defeated Eng in final after defeating them in the Pool.
                2007…would NZ have defeated Eng in semi…they “hammered” them at Twickenham less than 12 months before.

              • Roar Guru

                January 23rd 2018 @ 10:59am
                Rugby Fan said | January 23rd 2018 @ 10:59am | ! Report

                Some selective rationales there Clarke! You want to count the recent playing record in 2007, when it suits NZ, but not in 2003, when it doesn’t. Apparently, there are asterisks in the record when weakened NZ teams turn out, but not for weakened England teams.

                If you select any date at random, and ask who would likely win a match between NZ and England, then the record shows you should always go with the All Blacks. However, England have won matches in the past, and, with the possible exception of 2002/3 (I can’t remember what the bookies were saying) have done so as underdogs.

                We’ll never know if England would have beaten New Zealand at a World Cup in 2003 but there’s a pretty good case to make for an England win, and only a more speculative one for an All Black win.

                If speculative cases count, then you can make one for an England win in 1991, Pretty much the same England players won a match with the Lions, and another with England in 1993. They got stage fright in the 1991 pool loss against NZ, but the desire for revenge might have tipped the scales in a later round. Probably not, but as much a speculative chance as New Zealand in 2003.

                You can do the same in 2007. New Zealand hammered England in the run up to the World Cup but South Africa even did it at the Cup. And yet, the England side which made the knock out stages beat Australia, France and then gave South Africa a fright. They were a different proposition from the team which started the tournament, let alone the one which lost to NZ.

                At the same time, the 2007 New Zealand side proved mentally fragile when the chips were down against France. It’s possible that England could have pressured the All Blacks as they did Australia and France (who did beat NZ) and got the win. Not likely, but certainly possible. Just as possible as a speculative All Black win in 2003.

            • January 19th 2018 @ 11:22am
              Muzzo said | January 19th 2018 @ 11:22am | ! Report

              Here, here, T/man, absolutely right.

          • January 19th 2018 @ 4:45pm
            Wobblies said | January 19th 2018 @ 4:45pm | ! Report

            “would the All Blacks have beaten Ireland in Chicago….”
            Sorry man you are the worst of the apparent “gurus” …
            1.You surely noticed in that game players were rested and different combinations trialled… as is of course necessary.
            +
            1. Having a stronger squad (those plying their trade in Europe being part of said squad)
            = an All Black victory in Chicago (or at least a greatly increased chance.

            Thought dumbing it down for you might help.. please don’t right anymore article

            • January 19th 2018 @ 5:30pm
              Jacko said | January 19th 2018 @ 5:30pm | ! Report

              Spot on Wobbilies…NZ ran out of Locks for that game….Im sure there was a couple of locks in the UK who were from NZ which would have helped…..

              • Roar Guru

                January 19th 2018 @ 10:32pm
                Poth Ale said | January 19th 2018 @ 10:32pm | ! Report

                Like who, Jacko?

                There were more locks in NZ but Hansen chose not to bring them in. It’s pretty sad that some NZ fans are still trying to scrabble around in the dirt looking for reasons as to why they lost a match in Chicago to Ireland. Ireland were missing players too for both matches. The result is still the same – 1 win each. Ireland were the better team on the day in Chicago, and NZ on the day in Dublin. Get over it.

              • January 20th 2018 @ 3:21pm
                Jacko said | January 20th 2018 @ 3:21pm | ! Report

                No Poth no-one is scrambling around looking for excuses….There is always excuses but you play with the 23 you pick so that is who wins and loses…I believe this discussion is about the fact that theie are many many SH players playing in the NH…Get with the program

                The sadness is that every time someone mentions a game an ABs team lost you jump on the “NZ LOOKING FOR EXCUSES” bandwagon

            • January 19th 2018 @ 6:06pm
              Perthstayer said | January 19th 2018 @ 6:06pm | ! Report

              “please don’t write anymore articles”.

              Yeah, Oliver, I also disagree with you and I never want to see your name on Roar again, ever ever ever ever ever (unless your opinion agrees with mine).

            • Roar Guru

              January 19th 2018 @ 7:27pm
              Oliver Matthews said | January 19th 2018 @ 7:27pm | ! Report

              Let me try and dumb it down for you then Wobblies – I’d use crayons to help make it pretty to hold your attention if I could but we’ll have to make do with plain text.

              It is impossible to say whether adding in other players into a game would have changed the result. Of course we can debate it but it’s crazy to say that just because you’re adding in more quality players that team will definitely win. Otherwise there would never be any upsets at all – the team with the best team on paper would win. But as we know that doesn’t happen.

              Secondly – in the broader context of this article and the trend I’m suggesting exists – whether the ABs win that game or not makes little to no difference to the data. The Southern Hemisphere win percentage would go from 40% to 42%.

              So sure – let’s say that the added AB talent from Europe would have led to them winning in Chicago. No way we can know, but let’s say it does happen. It doesn’t change the trend in any way shape or form.

              NB – hope we can both appreciate the irony of you asking me to not “right” anymore. Perhaps I could suggest that you don’t “reed” any more of my articles?

              • January 20th 2018 @ 9:30am
                taylorman said | January 20th 2018 @ 9:30am | ! Report

                The reason it doesnt change the data Oliver is because the data is too simplistic, and youre clearly not an AB fan. But thats irrelevant, its just a point about where the ABs are headed.

                Let me get MY crayons out for you. If the trend of current ABs leaves in the numbers and quality they have in the last two years then the ABs are in serious trouble of that very data going sour. And its not so much the Smiths, Carters, its the Piutaus, Faumuinas, Crudens who still had plenty of AB rugby in them.

                We look to the future, your data looks to the past and sees none of this.

              • January 21st 2018 @ 1:11am
                FunBus said | January 21st 2018 @ 1:11am | ! Report

                Got to admire you, T-Man. After saying that Zach Mercer is a Kiwi rugby league international I thought you might withdraw from the argument for a bit out of embarrassment. But, you’re obviously made of sterner stuff.

              • January 21st 2018 @ 10:16am
                Taylorman said | January 21st 2018 @ 10:16am | ! Report

                And what would I say mr perfect. Obviously I read it wrong. Yet your little righteous conscience requires that I mention it even if it was obvious. Well there you are FB.
                Satisfied? Make your little heart flutter again? Geez.

              • January 21st 2018 @ 7:21pm
                FunBus said | January 21st 2018 @ 7:21pm | ! Report

                It’s not a question of whether I’m ‘satisfied’ or not, T-Man, it’s simply another, albeit particularly stark indication that you haven’t got the faintest idea what you’re talking about when it comes to ‘NH’ rugby.

              • January 21st 2018 @ 11:30am
                Jacko said | January 21st 2018 @ 11:30am | ! Report

                Thats how big league is in NZ funbus…….

        • January 22nd 2018 @ 9:57pm
          UKKiwi said | January 22nd 2018 @ 9:57pm | ! Report

          It all got a bit Dr Seuss there for a minute!

    • Roar Guru

      January 19th 2018 @ 4:40am
      Oliver Matthews said | January 19th 2018 @ 4:40am | ! Report

      I haven’t looked at the data any earlier than 2013 but my guess is that if we looked at matches between these sides for 2012 back to 2007 we’d see that the Southern Hemisphere sides have had higher win percentages over their Northern rivals until the past 2 years where there has been a significant change in fortunes.

      So the trend would be in line with what I’m saying here – that the top teams from the North are closing the gap on the South’s top teams. Not just one team being successful, but more consistent, better performances across all of the top teams from the North specifically in their matches against the top sides from the South.

      No such thing as North or South in rugby? Of course there is. The North v South debate has gone on for years and is witnessed in numerous discussions and matches. The Rugby Championship is the best of the Southern Hemisphere competing against each other while the 6 Nations is the best of the North so there’s a distinction there and that distinction leads to discussions around comparisons. Comparisons in terms of team performances, attendance figures etc etc etc.

      Super Rugby until recently has been only for Southern Hemisphere sides and the move of two of the SA club sides into the Pro14 raised a lot of discussion about how the Super Rugby/Southern Hemisphere style of playing would compare to the Northern Hemisphere style of club rugby.

      There’s been plenty of debates over the years about how the top sides from Super Rugby would do against the best sides from the Top 14 or English Premiership.

      The British and Irish Lions is a Northern Hemisphere side that tours to take on the top nations in the South and has done for decades.

      So the discussion about North v South has been around for a very long time and continues today in many aspects of the game from on the field results to finances and grass root structures.

      The revised data tells us that previous comments from Roarers that had said that the larger data set that included Fiji and Samoa was unfairly skewing the results in favour of the North are fair to raise but turn out to be wrong. If you look at the top 4 from each group you see that the data supports the hypothesis that the Northern teams are preforming better than they have since 2013.

      And the point that NH teams are using SH players and coaches doesn’t make the South’s results better. It just highlights that rugby in the South has problems that they are failing to overcome and it’s impacting their performances on the pitch.

      • January 19th 2018 @ 5:35am
        Taylorman said | January 19th 2018 @ 5:35am | ! Report

        “And the point that NH teams are using SH players and coaches doesn’t make the South’s results better. It just highlights that rugby in the South has problems that they are failing to overcome and it’s impacting their performances on the pitch“.

        I think we know that, but you seem to use that as an afterthought, some excuse being used here. It is central to the argument. You can’t have one without the other. The number of higher quality players moving north has increased significantly in the last two years.

        Since 2015 we had DC, Nonu, Smith, Piutau, Faumuina, Cruden, Luatua and a few others, all of whom if playing here would be potential test selections, and all would probably have toured north with the ABs last year. That would have resulted in significantly better results, even though they didn’t lose.

        • Roar Guru

          January 19th 2018 @ 6:03am
          Poth Ale said | January 19th 2018 @ 6:03am | ! Report

          That’s a crock response Tman. Jeez even I could done better. All the players you cite are NZ and nearly all of them went to France. Neither France’s or NZ results have changed. One very good, the other abysmal.

          And I reckon the number of higher quality SH players moving north has decreased in the last two years.

          • January 19th 2018 @ 6:19am
            aussikiwi said | January 19th 2018 @ 6:19am | ! Report

            You can’t say NZ’s results haven’t changed. They might have won a lot of those games by much bigger margins if all their talent was available😉

            • Roar Guru

              January 19th 2018 @ 6:48am
              Poth Ale said | January 19th 2018 @ 6:48am | ! Report

              Yeah, yeah. Ak. I hear ya. 😀

              • January 19th 2018 @ 9:36am
                taylorman said | January 19th 2018 @ 9:36am | ! Report

                No, I dont think you do…

      • January 19th 2018 @ 5:33pm
        Jacko said | January 19th 2018 @ 5:33pm | ! Report

        I haven’t looked at the data any earlier than 2013 but my guess

        Oliver if you havnt looked at data prior to 2013 how do you know that the NH is coming to get the SH???

        • Roar Guru

          January 19th 2018 @ 10:33pm
          Poth Ale said | January 19th 2018 @ 10:33pm | ! Report

          I have.

          • January 20th 2018 @ 3:23pm
            Jacko said | January 20th 2018 @ 3:23pm | ! Report

            And I bet all you saw was anti ABs stuff like you always do Poth

            • Roar Guru

              January 20th 2018 @ 3:52pm
              Rugby Fan said | January 20th 2018 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

              It’s laughable to think Poth Ale is anti-All Black.

              He’s pro-Ireland, and pro-rugby. The second means you can read him applauding the achievements of New Zealand rugby across a number of forums.

              He’s more likely to have a bad word to say about England than New Zealand.

              • January 21st 2018 @ 10:17am
                Taylorman said | January 21st 2018 @ 10:17am | ! Report

                I don’t think he’s anti AB at all. How could he support the teams he does if he was? 😂

              • January 21st 2018 @ 11:37am
                Jacko said | January 21st 2018 @ 11:37am | ! Report

                Yes you are right…He is anti NZ rugby fans not the ABs…my bad…

              • January 21st 2018 @ 8:36pm
                FunBus said | January 21st 2018 @ 8:36pm | ! Report

                I think most of us could lay claim to that description, Jacko.

              • January 22nd 2018 @ 9:32am
                Taylorman said | January 22nd 2018 @ 9:32am | ! Report

                Na, just you.

    • Roar Guru

      January 19th 2018 @ 5:29am
      Poth Ale said | January 19th 2018 @ 5:29am | ! Report

      What’s Wales record against Aus, SA and NZ since 2007?

      • Roar Guru

        January 19th 2018 @ 5:41am
        Poth Ale said | January 19th 2018 @ 5:41am | ! Report

        Wales played 38 matches since 1 Jan 2008 against SA, NZ, Aus.

        P38 W4 Lost 34 10.52%

        Scotland played 19
        P19 W 5 L14 26.3%

        • January 19th 2018 @ 8:07am
          rebel said | January 19th 2018 @ 8:07am | ! Report

          Are all 5 of Scotland’s wins against their bunnies.
          I think this proves your point about stats.

          • January 19th 2018 @ 8:20am
            David said | January 19th 2018 @ 8:20am | ! Report

            Scotland beat South Africa in 2010. They’ve had 4 wins and 3 losses to Australia since 2008.

            • January 19th 2018 @ 8:58am
              rebel said | January 19th 2018 @ 8:58am | ! Report

              Sounds right.
              Also Japan has a 25% win rate against the same teams over that period.

              • January 19th 2018 @ 10:11am
                David said | January 19th 2018 @ 10:11am | ! Report

                Not really a fair reflection though is it considering Japan managed the biggest upset of all time and have only played 4 games as opposed to 19 🤔

                Also let’s remember that Scotland were rubbish until around 2014/15, and they still managed a win against South Africa and two vs Australia between 2008 and that time. Not saying that it doesn’t count, but Scotland managed 3 wins against the SH Big3 when Scotland weren’t even considered quality opposition.

              • January 19th 2018 @ 12:59pm
                rebel said | January 19th 2018 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

                um yeah.

                It shows stats are useless in isolation.

              • January 19th 2018 @ 11:27am
                Jacko said | January 19th 2018 @ 11:27am | ! Report

                David…Fair or not its what STATS do…They list results etc without emotion , reason or understanding of circumstance

              • January 20th 2018 @ 1:08am
                David said | January 20th 2018 @ 1:08am | ! Report

                I agree, but throwing Japan into the argument isn’t relevant to the discussion or article. I could point out Japan have a better win percentage against South Africa than NZ, and it would be equally irrelevant.

              • January 20th 2018 @ 3:32pm
                Jacko said | January 20th 2018 @ 3:32pm | ! Report

                David of course its relevant…..Any stat tells the truth…The problem is it also lies….
                foe Example if a team plays another ranked 20 places below them 10 times and win 80% then next year play a team ranked 20 places higher and lose 80% the stats would tell you that the teams performance dropped very badly yet the truth may be that the team improved their performance in the second year. Therefor the stats do not tell the whole story

              • January 21st 2018 @ 9:01am
                David said | January 21st 2018 @ 9:01am | ! Report

                Why overcomplicate things? We were talking about Wales and Scotland’s respective performances against South Africa and Australia. Wales’s have significantly improved vs South Africa (3 wins in last 4 games) while remaining winless against Australia, while Scotland have played SA about 4 or 5 times in the last 8 years for one win, while significantly improving vs Australia. Nothing else is relevant. Scotland have improved, SA and Aus have regressed and Wales are about the same.

            • January 19th 2018 @ 3:43pm
              Muzzo said | January 19th 2018 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

              And still, they have never beaten, NZ, David.

    • January 19th 2018 @ 5:37am
      Taylorman said | January 19th 2018 @ 5:37am | ! Report

      Oh, and after Sapoaga it seems Kaino and Messam are now headed to Toulon. It’s a daily event losing All Blacks it seems😉

      • January 19th 2018 @ 6:22am
        Dan54 said | January 19th 2018 @ 6:22am | ! Report

        Yes Tman, and once they are playing in NH they are no longer SH players, so they really don’t come into any discussion on SH strength!

        • January 19th 2018 @ 11:33am
          Jacko said | January 19th 2018 @ 11:33am | ! Report

          BS….They are SH players…What does their passport say where it states nationality…..Some, actually PLENTY…play for their SH country while playing in the NH including AUS and SA players…90% of the Fiji team play in the North, many other PI players do the same

          The reality is that NZ is the best place in the world to learn to play rugby yet very few NH players ever go to NZ to improve there playing ability…WHY????…..Its got SFA to do with being the best they can be , its all about the $$$$$

          • Roar Guru

            January 19th 2018 @ 11:57am
            Poth Ale said | January 19th 2018 @ 11:57am | ! Report

            You raise a very good point, Jacko. Why doesn’t NZ take in more foreign players into their teams, or provide training at a cost to foreign players? A player learning their trade in Ireland at academy or sub-academy gets about €5k a year. It ain’t about the dollars.

            By the way, I think you’ll find that some players do actually change their passports and citizenship.

            • January 19th 2018 @ 5:41pm
              Jacko said | January 19th 2018 @ 5:41pm | ! Report

              Yes Im sure some do change passports etc but that is not so easy to do anymore…..However most are in the UK for short term careers on good $$

              Re the training of other nationalities….it seems that hiring an NZ coach and other support staff is easier and better suited than sending a bunch of age players to NZ….. I was meaning more seniors but it is an interesting line of thought…….John Gallagher is the only Englisman I can think of that went to NZ and became an AB…..There has been a couple play SR but I cant think of any others who hung around long enough. Its a bit like Ciprianie at the Rebels….It was not a success

              • January 21st 2018 @ 9:04pm
                cuw said | January 21st 2018 @ 9:04pm | ! Report

                MATT SYMONS was at Canterbury and Chiefs for like 3 seasons. as i recall he started for Chiefs.

                now back in UK with WASPS i have not seen him – maybe he is injured ….

                Oliver Jager came over from Ireland to Canterbury and he is going to stay with Crusaders..

                Nathan Earle played like one season for Canterbury and then went back to Sarries. Next year he is going to Quins.

                if there was a failure it was JAmes Haskell , who failed to start for Highlanders as far as i recall.

                Before Cips came to Rebels , there was Welsh Gareth Delve , who went on to captain them and famosly got into a fight with Kurtley Beale.

                he was in auzzy for like 3 seasons and if i remember correct Gatland refused to select him in the national team as he was not in UK.

                maybe there are others from Europe…

              • January 22nd 2018 @ 7:59am
                FunBus said | January 22nd 2018 @ 7:59am | ! Report

                Wasn’t Symons Chiefs captain? He currently struggles to make the Wasps starting XV.

              • January 22nd 2018 @ 9:37am
                Taylorman said | January 22nd 2018 @ 9:37am | ! Report

                Explains why you use our players and coaches then. He he thrived under our system, there? Pff. Hire another one please.

              • January 22nd 2018 @ 4:00pm
                Cuw said | January 22nd 2018 @ 4:00pm | ! Report

                no Craig Clarke captained Chiefs to back-to-back super cups.

                Symonns started alongside him.

              • January 22nd 2018 @ 7:28pm
                ClarkeG said | January 22nd 2018 @ 7:28pm | ! Report

                Not sure that is correct Cuw.

                I think Clarke had already joined Connacht by the time Symons come along.

              • January 22nd 2018 @ 8:08pm
                Cuw said | January 22nd 2018 @ 8:08pm | ! Report

                perhaps ur right – 2013 is a long time ago …

        • January 19th 2018 @ 2:36pm
          Taylorman said | January 19th 2018 @ 2:36pm | ! Report

          Yeah they do Dan, losing them, weakens us. How is that not about strength. The correlation is unmissable… yet you managed to😀

          • January 19th 2018 @ 6:57pm
            Dan54 said | January 19th 2018 @ 6:57pm | ! Report

            No I didn’t TMan, what I said and continue to say is once a player is playing in NH (well from NZ) he is no longer what can be called a SH player ie; a player who plays in SH.You can say it weakens us and probably does and I don’t like them going, but to say NH rugby isn’t better because they have players from SH rugby in club comp is stretching it a bit. I agree their players are learning from playing with and against these players in club games, but it in no way stops Oliver’s statement the NH are getting better. There is nothing wrong with it, I don’t know what team or if you follow any team in Super rugby, but do you rubbish them because they have players that come from another area. Do we rubbish say the Crusaders because Whitelock, Read etc come from other areas or do we say the Crusaders are strong because of it, which is what Oliver is saying.

            • January 19th 2018 @ 7:12pm
              Taylorman said | January 19th 2018 @ 7:12pm | ! Report

              Strength is a relative thing. What weakens is, strengthens them. Losing five hundred caps weakened us in many ways. It also strengthened our resolved, confirmed our depth. But a trend of players now leaving before they’ve fully realised their NZ ambitions will weaken us further, and when that becomes acceptable amongst our youth, we’ll suffer what happened to Auckland, we’ll lose our players to other sides.

              Constantly.

              Auckland have players in more professional camps in rugby and league than any other city worldwide.

              It seems we are now ok with that provided our other sides are strong. Soon all NZS players will play elsewhere as first choice, especially if these young guys start getting their mates over, the way that Pat Lam is dragging his Auckland players over.

              The AB standards will be too hard for some, so they’ll play for more $$ for easier work, and as we all know, the young want to travel.

              We’ll no longer find the McCaws of the game here who’s life was dedicated to NZ rugby. He’ll have set standards too high to work with.

    • January 19th 2018 @ 6:03am
      winston said | January 19th 2018 @ 6:03am | ! Report

      Really simply, If you take the top 3 from each hemisphere add up the world rankings points and compare South are ahead by 0.7%

      And NZ is obviously really carrying the South. I think its a pretty accurate indication of where we are at.

    • Roar Guru

      January 19th 2018 @ 8:40am
      Poth Ale said | January 19th 2018 @ 8:40am | ! Report

      2008-2012 – 5 years inc a RWC

      Eng – 19% – 3/18
      France- 23% – 3/13
      Ireland – 18% – 2/14
      Scot – 37% – 3/8
      Wales – 5% – 1/21
      Italy – 0% – 0/13

      Total 12 wins from 87matches 13.7% wins for the Six Nations teams collectively.

      2013-17 – 5 years inc a RWC

      England – 53.3% – 8/15 – up 24%
      France – 5.9% – 1/17 – down 17%
      Ireland – 54.5% – 6/11 – up 36%
      Scotland – 18.1% – 2/11 – down 19%
      Wales 17.6% – 3/17 – up 12%
      Italy – 20% – 1/5 – up 20% based on 1 win.

      Total 21/76 – 27.6% wins collectively for the 6N teams.

      20/71 – 28% for old 5N so don’t blame Italy
      19/54 – 35% excl France/Italy
      16/37 – 43% excl Wales/Fra/Ita
      14/26 – 53% excl Scot/Wal/Fra/Ita

      It’s not the ‘North’ is coming. It’s England and Ireland who have demonstrably improved over time. In the last two years, they’ve won 10 out of 13 against SANZAR – 76% – or 15/18 inc Argentina – 83% but I think that’s too short a time frame to properly assess and Ireland boosted by England’s 100% record. The 3-test away tours to SA and Aus and the Nov internationals will tell a little more.

      • January 19th 2018 @ 9:56am
        Bluesfan said | January 19th 2018 @ 9:56am | ! Report

        In large part this is a silly discussion – yes England/Ireland and even Scotland have achieved bigger and better results over the past couple of years and well done to them.

        However would they have achieved these results is not for the fact that SA in particular, Oz and AB’s had not had large numbers of international players not available due to playing in the Nth Hemisphere.

        Look at the recent Irish game against SA – is it a great Irish team or that SA has lost so many players (and really badly coached) that they are not even a truly representative Springbok side now? Now that is not Ireland’s fault and they are rightly viewed as WC Challengers now, but Imagine if they a fully representative SA Side – would the game have being so one sided?

        As for the AB’s – the reality is that you could probably pick a squad based in the Nth Hemisphere/Japan – who would probably be able to match it up with England/Ireland etc.

        So yes Nth Hemisphere rugby is getting stronger – but it’s in large part being driven by the weakening of the Sth Hemisphere unions playing depth.

        • Roar Guru

          January 19th 2018 @ 11:12am
          Oliver Matthews said | January 19th 2018 @ 11:12am | ! Report

          I think this is a key part of the discussion – what are the reasons behind the apparent shift in fortunes. I think some of the Northern Unions are making good moves to build more successful national sides. The RFU are investing an insane amount in England, Scotland are scouting players in a much more strategic fashion and are finding themselves some great foreign and home grown coaches, and Ireland are doing some good work to keep talent at home and not chasing the French Euro.

          At the same time Unions in South Africa and Australia have been shown to be out of ideas or lacking them in the first place. It’s not just about the 15 players that take the field for the Wallabies or Boks – it’s the entire national rugby operation that needs to be working well to generate consistent international success.

          • January 19th 2018 @ 11:27am
            taylorman said | January 19th 2018 @ 11:27am | ! Report

            Geez I could pick a Bok side of entirely NH based that would beat the current Bok side. Lack of ideas? Yeah, especially when all those ideas have plane tickets to England.

        • Roar Guru

          January 19th 2018 @ 11:30am
          Poth Ale said | January 19th 2018 @ 11:30am | ! Report

          Fair comment – to a degree. The increasing win rate though has been over a longer period of time than just the last two years. I agree absolutely that SA has been decimated by player emigration. However, the recent Irish win over SA followed a number of wins over SA so I don’t put much store by that single most recent result. And it’s consistency of results that the Irish needs to show anyway, never mind this silly NH v SH nonsense. It’s teams against teams at the end of the day wherever they’re from. If Ireland were to make the RWC final at some stage and somehow win, I wouldn’t be shouting or barracking on behalf of this fantasy hemisphere allegiance – the rest of the Six Nations and the Quad Nations can bugger off. :).

          • January 19th 2018 @ 3:53pm
            Bluesfan said | January 19th 2018 @ 3:53pm | ! Report

            All I can say is that I would be happy to see either Ireland or Scotland win the WC and would happily raise a glass to them- just please let it not be England!

            • January 19th 2018 @ 7:18pm
              Taylorman said | January 19th 2018 @ 7:18pm | ! Report

              Yep me too but neither is good enough too yet. Ireland could make a final but they’d fold. As they did versus Argie. They’re mentally inept when it comes to closing out World Cup knockouts. Pot will disagree but that’s the case so far so time will tell on that one.

              • Roar Guru

                January 19th 2018 @ 10:40pm
                Poth Ale said | January 19th 2018 @ 10:40pm | ! Report

                No I don’t disagree. The evidence points to them exiting early every time at quarter-final stage. That’s the hurdle they have to get over – mentally, professionally, squad depth, preparation, etc.

                The squad depth will be tested in the coming Six Nations with a number of talented or experienced players not available through injury – Heaslip, O’Brien, Ringrose, Ruddock, etc.

              • January 20th 2018 @ 4:53am
                Taylorman said | January 20th 2018 @ 4:53am | ! Report

                Yep though if there is ever to be a ‘new’ finalist or winner, it will definitely be Ireland. No one else is close.

            • January 21st 2018 @ 9:03pm
              FunBus said | January 21st 2018 @ 9:03pm | ! Report

              If you’re an AB fan, I doubt it, Bluesfan. I imagine you’d whine incessantly and for eternity about food poisoning, a virus, foreign corruption, the ref, the TMO, and the conjunction of Saturn with the moon no matter who won.😉

              • January 22nd 2018 @ 8:10am
                aussikiwi said | January 22nd 2018 @ 8:10am | ! Report

                Ahhh more ‘classic’ Funless’ “humour”. Mean spirited, turgid and overegged.

        • January 19th 2018 @ 7:06pm
          David said | January 19th 2018 @ 7:06pm | ! Report

          The only players South Africa have lost are to retirement. South Africa haven’t got the same kind of restrictions that Australia and New Zealand do about players being abroad. South Africa’s regression is entirely their own doing by having an awful coach way out of his depth. SA could not possibly have gone anywhere near as far backwards as they have if Heineke Mayer was still boss.

          • January 19th 2018 @ 7:20pm
            Taylorman said | January 19th 2018 @ 7:20pm | ! Report

            Really? I doubt that very much. Steyn was playing there for years and played for the Boks intermittently. So did Piemaar. I’d bet a better XV is currently playing in England and france alone.

            • January 19th 2018 @ 8:47pm
              Bluesfan said | January 19th 2018 @ 8:47pm | ! Report

              I actually think the Dark Horses could be SA – in WC year they are allowed to pick any overseas player that they wish (no rules around number of caps etc).

              All you need to remember is the 2015 cup and the hardest game that the AB’s faced was in the Semi Final vs. SA, which they scrapped through via the skin of their teeth

              In regards the comment that the only players SA have lost is due to retirement – all I would say is can you imagine how strong their Super teams would be if the 200 odd players they currently have playing overseas were actually available to their Super teams?

              • January 20th 2018 @ 1:04am
                David said | January 20th 2018 @ 1:04am | ! Report

                This was in reference to the national side, not their super rugby teams.

                SA can still pick the likes of Duane Vermulen, Schalk Burger, Schalk Brits, Francois Louw etc- the players aren’t the problem, the coach selecting them is.

              • January 21st 2018 @ 10:22am
                Taylorman said | January 21st 2018 @ 10:22am | ! Report

                They can’t really David. Can they pick them for the June series? The RC, the AIs?

                Yes and no for a lot of that so they’re hardly ‘free to be selected’. For one the clubs would refuse much of it, and their prep would be rubbish, an overlong season and no idea what their real form is like.? Once they’ve gone, they’re gone. Until they go back full time.

              • January 21st 2018 @ 7:30pm
                FunBus said | January 21st 2018 @ 7:30pm | ! Report

                ‘Can they pick them for the June series, the RC, the AIs.’

                The simple answer is yes. The clubs have to release players for the test windows, and do, which is why Louw, for example is still a Bok regular. The only game the clubs argue about is the additional ‘4th’ game of the AIs some teams occasionally arrange which is outside of the test windows.
                All this stuff is ‘Googleable’ you know, T-Man.

              • January 20th 2018 @ 4:57am
                Taylorman said | January 20th 2018 @ 4:57am | ! Report

                Yes that’s right, and that’s what will make it harder for the NH sides. Their improvement levels during WCup year don’t change much so Oliver’s results will get skewed again as the SH sides get to play their ‘real’ teams.

              • January 20th 2018 @ 7:16am
                Bluesfan said | January 20th 2018 @ 7:16am | ! Report

                My point about the 200+ players overseas – is that effectively by removing those players – the SA Super franchises are weakened and when they are weakened – that then flows onto the SB.

                Imagine how competitive the Super Franchises would be if those players were available – competition makes you stronger and better and that then flows into your national team.

                As an example just imagine if the Crusaders still had Tom Taylor, Colin Sade, Tyler Bleyendaal all available (we will let Dan Carter retire) – just how good would the internal competition be to get on the field in the 10 jersey and further that player that does get onto the field will have competitors breathing down his neck every minute of the day – Reality would be that Richie Mo’unga probably would find it even difficult to get onto the bench.

                Now extrapolate that to SA who are missing 200 of their best players and thus weakening the internal competition within the Super Franchises and you can see how SA rugby is slowly sliding away due to the ability of Nth Hemispheres and Japan rugby having the ability to cover any weakness in their own teams by purchasing players developed by SA and other unions (Oz, Arg and NZ).

                As an idea – consider if you took away 200 professional players across the England, France, Scotland, Ireland, Welsh qualified teams –

                – Just how good would the likes of teams like Wasps, Leicester, Clermont be?
                – And how good would would the respective National Teams be – if those players were suddenly not available?

              • Roar Guru

                January 20th 2018 @ 9:05am
                Poth Ale said | January 20th 2018 @ 9:05am | ! Report

                They’d be very good. Have you seen Leicester recently?

                If 200 SA players suddenly turned up in SA in the morning, where would they play? If you put them into the existing Super Rughy and PRO14 teams, what would happen to the players already there?

                Who would pay these extra players?

                Where would the 200 players from the Six Nations teams be playing instead? In Super Rugby? Their unions could still select them for tests. And it would give them an opportunity to develop more players.

                Sounds like a good idea.

              • January 20th 2018 @ 9:36am
                taylorman said | January 20th 2018 @ 9:36am | ! Report

                Yes apply the copout argument Pot, clearly its a situation thats been built up over time. Had they not moved they would still be playing Super rugby, or would be under pressure from others for their position.

                So using your own logic the impact of removing 200 players is what we have now, lower standards all of a sudden, because weve had to find 200 players from somewhere to replace them, and we have.,which only goes to prove Bluesfans point, the standards are lower. Better to have them here competing, than lower the standards.

              • January 21st 2018 @ 9:16pm
                cuw said | January 21st 2018 @ 9:16pm | ! Report

                @ POTH ALE

                ” If 200 SA players suddenly turned up in SA in the morning, where would they play? If you put them into the existing Super Rughy and PRO14 teams, what would happen to the players already there? Who would pay these extra players? ”

                I think one consideration in this argument regarding saffas , that shud not be ignored is the racial quaota thingy that is in effect.

                for eg. how many “Colored” players out of that 200 can u name ( and those who will not return to super rugger – say like Nizam Carr ) ??

                quite a lot of white players have come over to the UK with the hope of qualifying by residency.

                this is not just in rugger but also happened in cricket. i mean isnt Strauss a saff?

                the saffa migration is due to inequality . and other countries will benefit from it. so money is not the sole consideration.

              • Roar Guru

                January 22nd 2018 @ 2:31am
                Poth Ale said | January 22nd 2018 @ 2:31am | ! Report

                Agree with all that, Cuw. The racial quota clearly has had a strong effect on SA players emigrating, not just capped Boks.

                Of course, any players leaving now hoping to residency qualify have a much longer wait and contract durations are generally 2-3 years.

              • January 22nd 2018 @ 8:03am
                FunBus said | January 22nd 2018 @ 8:03am | ! Report

                Strauss has English parentage and left SA when he was 7, I think.

          • January 20th 2018 @ 9:38am
            Muzzo said | January 20th 2018 @ 9:38am | ! Report

            Possibly, the quota system should be considered, in regards to SA, over recent years!!
            They do have the potential talent, running around, as noticed in Super Rugby.

      • January 19th 2018 @ 12:25pm
        Celtic334 said | January 19th 2018 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

        The other thing that is not ever discussed is that each year Aus, NZ, SAF play 5 matches against the North away from home to only 3 matches at home. For instance Ireland haven’t played in Aus for almost a decade.

        • Roar Guru

          January 19th 2018 @ 12:46pm
          Poth Ale said | January 19th 2018 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

          Do you know why they haven’t played since 2010?

          • January 19th 2018 @ 2:43pm
            Celtic334 said | January 19th 2018 @ 2:43pm | ! Report

            Might be my bliss but 8 years is almost a decade.

            • Roar Guru

              January 19th 2018 @ 10:41pm
              Poth Ale said | January 19th 2018 @ 10:41pm | ! Report

              I know, but I was asking do you know why they haven’t played since then?

              • January 20th 2018 @ 9:14am
                Fionn said | January 20th 2018 @ 9:14am | ! Report

                Why is that, Poth?

              • Roar Guru

                January 20th 2018 @ 11:15am
                Poth Ale said | January 20th 2018 @ 11:15am | ! Report

                Cos SANZAR wanted 3-test June tours.
                So RWCs In 11 and 15
                Lions in 13 & 17
                They booked Wales in 12, France in 14, England in 16 and Ireland in 18.

                They play 4 tests in November against some of the 6N sides. Interestingly, this year, Wales and Scotland have arranged their 4th Nov test against each other. Wonder if that’s going to be a regular feature in the new global schedule to reduce number of tests that SANZAAR teams have to play each year?

                The two unions plan to use the funds to pay central contracts to their players and keep them in country. It would reduce the number of foreign players in their club squads too.

              • January 20th 2018 @ 11:18am
                Fionn said | January 20th 2018 @ 11:18am | ! Report

                Interesting. I quite like 3 Test series to be honest.

                Just not when we lose them 3-0 to England.

                I will be able to tolerate it much better when Ireland inevitably beats the Wallabies 3-0 in June. Hopefully it provides some impetus for change with the Wallabies.

              • Roar Guru

                January 20th 2018 @ 12:22pm
                Rugby Fan said | January 20th 2018 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

                Yes, the SANZAR tour request locked England into a rigid 4 year cycle of South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and then Argentina in a Lions year.

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