These days it seems that any coach with a few bad results in a row may quickly find himself in front of the firing squad. This year eight of the top countries on the International Rugby Board rankings had new coaches.
The exceptions were Graham Henry, whose All Blacks finished the year in first place on the rankings and who has been in charge since 2004, and Frank Hadden (Scotland, currently ninth – in charge since 2005).
So just how successful have our 2008 newcomers been?
rugby365.com takes a statistical look at their records!
Peter de Villiers (South Africa): The World Cup-winning Springboks finished the year ranked second on the IRB list and De Villiers have the best winning percentage of all the newcomers. He has a record win over England to his credit and a first-ever win over New Zealand in Dunedin.
Won: Nine (69.2%) – five wins at home and four away
Lost: Four (30.8%) – two at home, two away
Declan Kidney (Ireland): Kidney only took over ahead of the November Tests and has had only three Tests in charge of a team that finished the year in eighth spot on the IRB rankings.
Won: Two (66.7%) – both at home
Lost: One (33.3%) – at home
Robbie Deans (Australia): His team had their moments, but after finishing in third place on the IRB rankings it showed that Deans is human after all.
Won: Nine (64.3%) – five wins at home and four abroad
Lost: Five (35.7%) – one at home, three away and one on neutral ground
Warren Gatland (Wales): After winning the Six Nations Grand Slam his team had a mid-year slump and a patchy November series, but still finished the year in fifth place on the IRB rankings and the only Northern Hemisphere team to beat a Tri-Nations side.
Won: Seven (63.6%) – five wins at home and two away
Lost: Four (36.4%) – two at home and two away
Marc Lievremont (France): It was largely an experimental year for the Frenchman and his team’s fifth place on the IRB rankings suggest it was not very successful experiments either.
Won: Five (50.0%) – four home wins and one away
Lost: Five (50.0%) – two at home and three away
Santiago Phelan (Argentina): There was always going to be a post-World Cup hangover for the Pumas and to slip just one ranking place to fourth on the IRB list was not too bad.
Won: Two (28.6%) – one at home and one away
Lost: Five (71.4%) – two at home and three away
Martin Johnson (England): He also only took over just ahead of the November series and was always going to have an enormous gap to make up on the rest – especially considering the mess that was England’s mid-year tour to New Zealand. Sixth place on the IRB rankings is just about where England deserves to be.
Won: One (25.0%) – at home
Lost: Three (75.0%) – all at home
Nick Mallett (Italy): More was expected of Mallett, but given the limited resources with which he has to work, 11th place on the IRB rankings shows more the amount of work that awaits than the results of the year.
Won: Two (20.0%) – one win at home, one away
Lost: Eight (80.0%) – four away, four at home
By Jan de Koning for Rugby 365Tweet