Devil in statistics for our Bledisloe woe

Bay35Pablo Roar Rookie

By Bay35Pablo, Bay35Pablo is a Roar Rookie

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24 Have your say

    The ashes and sackcloth Wallabies fans are declaring woe is us, on the back of nine Bledisloe Cup defeats to the All Blacks, and not having won the Cup since 2002. However, the devil is as always in the statistics.

    Which any “real” rugby fan would be aware of (i.e. the ashes lot are usually idle rugby fans, or “other media” briefly doing a piece on the Wallabies because media loves to report misery), as we have refined our self flagellation so we only beat ourselves up over worthwhile causes (of which there are plenty). So I will recap here for those who came late to the class.

    From 1999 to 2005 there were only two games for the Bledisloe, as it was part of the Tri Nations where each team played each other twice. There was no third game. As such, the holder only needed to win one game to draw the series and keep the Cup. Indeed, the Wallabies retained the Cup in 2002 winning one of two games (having won both in 2001 – hah!).

    2003 and 2005 saw the ABs win 2-0, but 2004 was split. 2006 saw a three game series won 3-0 by the boys in black (ouch). The series then went back to a two game series in 2007 (World Cup year), which was split 1-1.

    Then in 2008 the ARU and NZRU commenced “Operation Foreign Cash Cow”, by extending it to four games and earning extra cash by playing the fourth in Hong Kong or Japan. Great for the coffers, not so good if you were trying to win the Cup back (i.e. the Wallabies) as you needed to win three of the four games.

    So when considering whether we should all drown our sorrows and take up badminton to get away from the scary ABs, keep in mind that we haven’t made things easy for ourselves over the last eight years while that part of the trophy cabinet reserved for the Bledisloe has been empty.

    New Zealand historically has been the dominant team up until the late 1990s, but the recent domination since 2003 has not been hurt by the ABS having a favourable wind in the format.

    So fear not all true believers, the end to this black wash will come. Just keep in mind it’ll be easier if we manage to co-ordinate having a good team with playing only three games for the precious silverware!

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    The Crowd Says (24)

    • August 10th 2010 @ 9:43am
      sheek said | August 10th 2010 @ 9:43am | ! Report

      Pablo mate,

      I didn’t quite follow all of what you might have been trying to say. Whether we play the ABs twice, thrice or 4 times YEARLY is largely irrelevant. We’re just not any bloody good at playing rugby these days! Or any other days!!

      Historically, we only win about 28% of our matches against the ABs – 28%, that’s less than 3 in every 10. Historically!!!

      Forget the stats, the history is even more depressing. Spiro wrote a good piece in the SMH this morning where he argued that getting close to the ABs in scoreline & performance is no guarantee that you’re actually “getting closer to a win”.

      Being close is not the same as winning. I’m over it. I don’t care for close scorelines. This indicates how desperate we’ve become. Get within 10 points of the ABs, & we consider it some kind of moral victory. It’s all that’s left for us to hang our hopes on.

      My self-analysis is brutal. The Wallabies have some wonderful individuals – Robinson, Pocock, Cooper, Genia – but collectively they are very ordinary. Historically, the Wallabies are ordinary.

      Yet the deepest analysis from a bland rugby public is to sack the kiwi coach, as if somehow this is the only thing stopping us from winning. Changing the coach might make people feel good about doing something proactive, but it doesn’t provide a long-term cure.

      But Australian rugby fans & administrators will continue to believe what they want to believe. And this means the Wallabies will continue to be ordinary for a long time, more often than not.

      Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat its mistakes…..

      • August 10th 2010 @ 12:48pm
        RedsNut said | August 10th 2010 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

        The more times the ABs win, the nearer they are to loosing!

        • August 10th 2010 @ 12:53pm
          Blinky Bill of Bellingen said | August 10th 2010 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

          I used to have the reverse logic for lottery tickets. It doesn’t work.

          • August 10th 2010 @ 4:54pm
            Campbell Watts said | August 10th 2010 @ 4:54pm | ! Report

            So the AB’s must have a loss to Ireland and Scotland just round the corner then one would assume – since neither has EVER beaten the AB’s šŸ™‚

            Hmmm…. won’t be putting my hard-earned on that I’m affraid!

      • Roar Guru

        August 10th 2010 @ 1:13pm
        Bay35Pablo said | August 10th 2010 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

        How about Wales? They must be very, very, very close to winnng.

    • August 10th 2010 @ 10:25am
      Mr Grumpy said | August 10th 2010 @ 10:25am | ! Report


      Australia drew both series in 1999 and 2000 to retain the cup.

      In the five seasons the Wallabies held the Bledisloe Cup, they won two of the five series – 3-0 in 1998 and 2-0 in 2001. This included Australia’s last win on New Zealand soil – 23-15 at Carisbrook.

      Australia have lost their 11 tests in New Zealand, nearly double the previous record of six tests in the 1990s and from 1967 to 1978.

      You would think the Wallabies would have a better record with the regularly matches aqainst New Zealand players at their venues through the Super competition.

      There were positives from Saturday’s test in Christchurch but we still lost.

      What odds for the All Blacks to win a record 10th straight test in Sydney on September 11?

      • Roar Guru

        August 10th 2010 @ 1:14pm
        Bay35Pablo said | August 10th 2010 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

        I am hopeful we can get a win in Sydney (in part because I will be at the game). The 4th game in HK they will likely win though (especially if we win in Sydney).

      • August 10th 2010 @ 4:56pm
        Campbell Watts said | August 10th 2010 @ 4:56pm | ! Report

        Now THERE’S something I will bet on šŸ™‚

    • August 10th 2010 @ 10:39am
      Jerry said | August 10th 2010 @ 10:39am | ! Report

      Since Australia lost the Bledisloe in 03, they’ve only won 4 total matches against NZ (one of which was the WC semi final).

      The overall Bledisloe record since 03 is 18 wins to 3.

      In the All Blacks current run of 9 seasons, there’s been 2 times when the series was level (compared to 3 times in the 5 seasons the Wallabies last held it).

      And both neutral venue matches have been dead rubbers.

      It’s not the format, it’s the teams. The Wallabies haven’t been good enough to win a match most of the time.

    • August 10th 2010 @ 10:59am
      Republican said | August 10th 2010 @ 10:59am | ! Report

      NZ are better at Rugby Union and will soon be consistently so at League the way they are going.

      Union’s status is fairly low in Australia and unless this changes little ol NZ will continue to dominate us at this game.

      I would be more concerned if I were a League devotee, becuase NZ are as good at this code as Australia, despite not being a League country and only a population of around 5mill.

      Australia, I am told does have a very strong League culture so there are no excuses for Oz in Leagues case – or are there?

      • August 10th 2010 @ 4:02pm
        Harry said | August 10th 2010 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

        Wait till NZ start winning at league consistently instead of the current once in a blue moon … if you have a look at it their record in the last 6 years in league is worse than it was in the previous period so I don’t see what your getting at.

        But anyway, who cares about international league?

    • August 10th 2010 @ 11:03am
      ohtani's jacket said | August 10th 2010 @ 11:03am | ! Report

      Personally, I thought the extra Bledisloe Test would’ve been way more exciting had it been a one-off for the Cup. The NZRU would’ve never agreed to it, but that’s what I would’ve liked to have seen.

      I agree that it’s next to impossible to win the Bledisloe back in a four Test format, but if you look back on this nine Test losing streak there were missed opportunities for the Wallabies during 2008 and 2009.

      • Roar Guru

        August 10th 2010 @ 2:02pm
        stillmissit said | August 10th 2010 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

        OJ – Certainly not in Wellington! which is the worst, most gutless rugby test I have seen by any Australian rugby team in the last 25 years.

        We have had our chances but they seemed to mostly have come after the Bledisloe has been secured or after a big win and the AB’s were a bit complacent.

        • August 10th 2010 @ 3:38pm
          Fog said | August 10th 2010 @ 3:38pm | ! Report

          I think you are being too hard on the Wallabies. At the ground on the day it felt more like the Blacks played well. Who was going to stop Nonu that far from the line and with a head of steam up for what I think was the final try? Being ruthless in the assessment of your team doesn’t mean having unreachable expectations for their performance. You will inevitably be frustrated. A case in point is the damaging myth of “Australia’s brilliant backline”. Frankly, we haven’t seen a lot of that this century in the Trans-Tasman clashes. If you keep stepping on to the field with a “brilliant backline” and a game plan based on that myth, you will be doomed to disappointment. While they have many good or excellent players the Wallabies dont currently have a hard core of reliable excellence in any part of the 22 at the moment. That core is your backbone when things get tough. None of the basic units of the team (or even sub-units) are there yet. If all of your first choice front row is available that unit would qualify, but it would be the only one. Even setting aside injuries and suspensions, the backline selections change far too frequently for any effective unit to develop.

          • August 11th 2010 @ 8:06am
            sheek said | August 11th 2010 @ 8:06am | ! Report


            In which year are we being too hard on the Wallabies – 2003? 2004? 2005? 2006? 2007? 2008? 2009? 2010???

            Or maybe the tiny, oblique hint that the problems lie elsewhere, apart from the coach & players….. ?

        • August 10th 2010 @ 3:45pm
          ohtani's jacket said | August 10th 2010 @ 3:45pm | ! Report

          Brisbane and Hong Kong in 2008 were missed opportunities for the Wallabies, I think, as well as Eden Park and Sydney last year. Brisbane was probably the worst as I geniunely believe it’s had a long term effect on how this whole thing has played out.

    • August 10th 2010 @ 3:44pm
      thesportsguy said | August 10th 2010 @ 3:44pm | ! Report

      in the current 4 game format, it is unlikely in the near future australia have a good enough team to trump the ABs in three tests in one year.

      Also, given that NZ will win more often then not on neutral venues, and almost never loses at home, it would require AUS to win 2 times at home, and least once on the road which is something they havent done in nearly ten years against the blacks.

      So its feasible, that australia are further away from recovering the bledisloe because of the way it is structured. is that the point u were trying to make BAY35?

      i would agree with that logic.

      • August 10th 2010 @ 3:48pm
        ohtani's jacket said | August 10th 2010 @ 3:48pm | ! Report

        This is the final year that we’ll have the four match format. From next year, there will only be two Tri-Nations matches between New Zealand and Australia. Both O’Neill and Tew have stated that they’d like to reduce the number of Tests being played, but the $ will win out in the end and there may be a third Bledisloe Test from time to time.

      • Roar Guru

        August 11th 2010 @ 11:14am
        Bay35Pablo said | August 11th 2010 @ 11:14am | ! Report


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