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Joined July 2023

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Awesome!

I did some calculations and across the tournament the biggest ranking risers were: Portugal- 4.17, England- 3.77, New Zealand- 2.5 which as your suggests illustrate it really is a couple of individual games that create the changes.

Biggest fallers were interestingly: Samoa with -3.96, Fiji with -3.9 and Georgia with -3.55. It is particularly interesting that the nature of the system means that despite Fiji’s recent strong play because they only won 2/5 with an upset loss they fell so far.

Stat Stupidity: Eight weird and wonderful numbers from the Rugby World Cup

A good question, a particularly crazy way to illustrate the English approach Sunday was that there 11-15 had: 8 tackles, 7 passes, 6 turnovers lost, 5 kicks from hand!

Stat Stupidity: Eight weird and wonderful numbers from the Rugby World Cup

A different metric though a very interesting one! Would be very interested in the matches where the victor had the greatest ranking points discrepancy. Portugal would clearly be greatest winner from this, but curious who else overcame the rankings.

Stat Stupidity: Eight weird and wonderful numbers from the Rugby World Cup

Always enjoy your thoughts Spiro, particularly an interesting statistical breakdown the kicking. One thing I think better exemplifies your point is not total kicks but pass to kick ratio. One example was the tournament opener when France kicked 43 times and New Zealand 39. This game was still a wonderful attacking spectacle because the teams still passed the ball. France pass to kick was 2.5 and NZ’s 3.9. England’s on the weekend was 1.9, a slight increase from their 1.8 against Argentina earlier in the tournament. This is all mainly to say that kicking can be about promoting attacking rugby in better positions or defensive rugby and that a team like France or New Zealand on occasion epitomise the former, while England clearly embrace the latter.

SPIRO ZAVOS: England's bully boy, no rugby display against Boks is the game they play in hell. Now for the salvation

I would argue its actually a better representation of opponent strength right now. Would confuse me to give Argentina credit when the main match that flipped the rankings was Argentina against 14-man England who were up 24 points with 5 mins to play and didn’t have to score a try to do so.

Stat Stupidity: Eight weird and wonderful numbers from the Rugby World Cup

I personally think that the good of the game is better preserved by improving the All Blacks selection policy to be less flippant on assault and domestic violence.

Rugby’s descent into cynical play: Why neutral fans should back the All Blacks for the good of the game

I asked Christy about this on another post and got this response:
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Christy, have you had any sense of a shift from Chairman to CEO as spokesperson?
It has seemed very odd that after a couple of years of the Chairman speaking on behalf of RA it has changed in the past month or so to Waugh. If the Chairman will still be making public comment, is there any likelihood that he will address the Japan Eddie updates at all or Eddie’s odd press conference on Tuesday?
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It was always Hamish’s intention for Phil to speak more. He felt he needed to speak more on the game’s behalf under the previous regime. As for addressing Eddie’s future, Hamish hasn’t exactly gone MIA – but again, Phil spoke of that in the past 24 hours.

Wallabies coach Jones disloyal if Japan talks real, says Rugby Australia boss

The Brumbies also receive funding from the ACT government, who are obviously totally opposed to centralisation as they are most worried that the Brumbies might be moved. Therefore its not quite as simple as the Wallabies ‘cash cow’ bullying teams because there are other avenues of funding than just RA who are cutting funding to make the RA profit margins look better. For the Brumbies, its essentially that RA are taking their house and the Brumbies have to take them at their word that they will continue to live there. This is in comparison to the Waratahs who have no assets or financial viability and are most aligned with RA because the headquarters are next door so have none of the same concerns.

I think youve raised some good points but would also be very curious to hear some examples other than centralisation where states have stopped RA from enacting plans.

It's time to stop treating the symptoms of Rugby Australia’s illness and get to the cause

Christy, have you had any sense of a shift from Chairman to CEO as spokesperson? It has seemed very odd that after a couple of years of the Chairman speaking on behalf of RA it has changed in the past month or so to Waugh. If the Chairman will still be making public comment, is there any likelihood that he will address the Japan Eddie updates at all or Eddie’s odd press conference on Tuesday?

Wallabies coach Jones disloyal if Japan talks real, says Rugby Australia boss

Stuart Lancaster another option who actually has some experience navigating centralised high-performance at Leinster. Many of these kiwis are now retired (Hansen) or trending to it (Schmidt). It may not hurt to try and look younger.

The three contenders to take over the Wallabies if Eddie Jones walks

Interesting read, although Im not sure I agree. A few weeks ago I wrote about the All Blacks struggles here. Their issue is more their defences soft underbelly and their attacks reliance on individual brilliance. I mentioned that they are constructed to smash teams with worse talent but it gives little indication of their ability against sides that can stress their set-piece and positional play. Maybe they have corrected their attack but I question if dismantling the world number 11 and 17 erases recent failings against 2 and 3. Would be curious to know what you think the foxing is designed to unexpectedly exploit considering Scotland’s attacking similarity to NZ right now and their struggles on the weekend. Nonetheless, we are all hoping for a great game!

Has Fozzie been foxing? Ireland beware, the All Blacks could be about to reignite

Thanks mate, fwiw McLennan apparently donates his salary to the women’s and indigenous rugby. He has made plenty of money in his time, the RA gig is just a passion considering no prior sports admin experience. I think this is part of the problem.

Chasing Headlines, Missing Marks: Why Hamish McLennan can’t remain as Rugby Australia Chairman

Good Read. A thing that has really frustrated me is that the position-less phase play you have discussed doesnt have to be at odds with set-piece plays. England showed promise in the ability to counter-attack with this position-less but were a disaster on the previously structured things that now lacked them. I always thought the evolution would be to bring back structure to set-piece moves and zone play (Like how many phases you stay in your half before kicking) and using this position-less to be ruthless on turnovers. Yet instead the Wallabies jsut looked chaotic every time they touched the ball.

Eddie Jones' mindless selections are making 'position-less' Wallabies chaos even worse

I like the article but those numbers are nonsensical. The NRL games averaged an audience of 600,000 per game in 2022, while Super Rugby averaged averaged less than 200,000 per round. So idea that club rugby suddenly get an audience of 150,000 people per game is insane. The reality is that union is not a sport that broadcasters want to pay for right now and many fans seem to have the idea that has been parroted to them by RA that the broadcast deals grow on trees… Provide the broadcaster who you think would bid for this because all these games would be competing for air time with AFL and NRL games. We as rugby fans need to get more reasonable about the money figures we are talking about because this comp screams of streamed on rugby.com.au at a loss.

Shrinking Super Rugby isn't the solution to Australian rugby's problems, expanding the game below it is

Those selections all seem reasonable Skippy. I think there are options for more physical 7s: Samu, T Hooper or even Wilkin or Gamble not in the squad. I think McReight is very talented but doesnt fit Eddie’s gameplan design with all these injuries.

Bringing mind games to a fist fight: How the Wallabies let the flying Fijians soar

Really enjoyed this read, I think the beautiful thing about the world cup is the hope everyone carries in, from the Irish fans dreaming of the cup, to Portuguese fans hoping against Wales.

Hope never dies: The past is painful, but there's lot to like about the look of the Irish

All I did was point out the turnover differential between the two, hardly an opinion. Saying he was the best 10 in SR this season requires more explanation because he played on a good team, which lost the final and he had 34 turnovers conceded across the competition (Highest in the comp by 7).

Uninspiring England showed exactly why the All Blacks won’t win the Rugby World Cup

This is ageing well Peter!

Is it too soon to talk about Cam Roigard?

I’ll have a crack at the McKenzie vs Mounga discussion. The reason that DM does not start for the All Blacks in crunch games is simple, he is a turnover machine. When he had the opportunity in 2021 as he was fighting with Mounga he showed this. He played 12 games but mostly started against tier 2 teams and came off the bench against the better teams. He had 14 turnovers conceded and 6 penalties on top of that.

Mounga in the same year played 8 games, more often against the big teams and mostly started so they ended up playing similar minutes. He had 4 turnovers and 2 penalties in the year. As electric as DM is those 14 extra turnovers matter in games where the margins are tighter.

In Super this year where they played comparable minutes again DM had 21 turnovers from handling and penalties to RMs 10. Its the same problem. DM led them against Argentina this year and even though they put on points, he had two turnovers. RM led them in a far tougher match against South Africa the following week, didn’t have a turnover they won. Less flashy more reliable.

That is probably the reason why DM looks so good against lesser teams and can’t be trusted in big games.

Uninspiring England showed exactly why the All Blacks won’t win the Rugby World Cup

The real Australian style of play… 😂

World Rugby’s fashion show: What daring creations could Eddie Jones unveil to shock the world at the RWC?

Terrible news, his kicking and composure have been really crucial to Fiji’s improved game management. Volavola is a good player but doesnt bring the same level of calm.

'Devastating': Fiji rocked by tournament ending injury to fly-half days out from World Cup opener

Indeed, and he loves people that are world-class at specific skills to create mismatches, even if they are not well-rounded. Kick accuracy and catching are some of the things he seems to want to look for (Vunivalu and Donaldson).

World Rugby’s fashion show: What daring creations could Eddie Jones unveil to shock the world at the RWC?

It will be interesting to see because the coaches have spoken about how they want to play less structured, more instinctive rugby.

World Rugby’s fashion show: What daring creations could Eddie Jones unveil to shock the world at the RWC?

Absolutely, while Tuipulotu is a good player, I think Kerevi and Jonathon Danty are the two players most suited in world rugby to make this play nearly unstoppable. It may be a concern though if Kerevi is injured throughout the RWC as while Foketi is a good player doesnt offer the same running threat that keeps the deception working.

World Rugby’s fashion show: What daring creations could Eddie Jones unveil to shock the world at the RWC?

Hopefully Skelton is the man

Flair with Functionality: The Wallabies can find inspiration in a French kicking masterclass

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