For once, let’s remove the crap.
Having a discussion with a fellow rugby supporters yesterday I was asked to remove all the bullshit surrounding the much discussed current Bok coach Peter de Villiers, so I did.
You see the funny thing with opinions is that they are all based on things you either read, see or hear. Now I am not as fortunate as Gavin Rich to be close to the team as much as he is, after all, I have a real job to look after, but if we remove all the bullshit, perceptions, hearsay and rumours, then we are left with simple, factual evidence to base opinions on.
You see opinions and arguments can change quite a bit depending on which mechanics and dynamics you are trying to dissect, and what reference you use as a base for your opinion or argument.
For instance, specific mechanics and dynamics during Jake White’s tenure can be analysed and scrutinized and make him out to be a bit of a failure as a coach since he was not too hot against the best teams in the world, but ultimately, the man won the World Cup so from a completely different reference point, his career as Bok coach will be the most celebrated one.
The problem often comes in that we all debate from a different reference point trying to prove a point, and through this, miss each other and the point completely. That and the fact that the human element that forms part of rugby is usually discussed based on who you support, and who your favourites are.
Reports in most media sectors recently suggested that we all but ‘failed’ in the recent Lions series and the main reason for this it seems, is because this team should klap all comers.
These same guys basically suggest we should be able to win the Tri Nations comfortably, given the fact that we have a world beating team currently being held back by the coaching staff from reaching their true potential…
On what do we base this?
What is the most reliable point of reference we can investigate this claim with? Surely this should be the ‘form’ of this team, or its current crop of players against the very guys we should now, smash for all love or money?
So here is my angle I am going to take. Firstly I am going to consider our record against some of the top teams in the world since re-admission, and to be fair to the current crop of players, also consider it since 2004 where the majority of them came together under White and won a Tri Nations.
The normal percentages are followed in brackets by our winning percentages since 2004.
All Blacks – 26% (33%)
Australia – 45% (50%)
France – 47% (25%)
England – 54% (71%)
Overall – 43% (45%)
(Figures and stats from www.genslins.us/bokke)
So since 1992, we have only managed to win more games against England from the 4 teams highlighted. Since 2004, we improved slightly by starting to beat Australia by as much as we lose against them.
But then, how accurate is this reference point? The Bokke as we know is constantly under barrage of attack from the media and politicians which handicaps any coach that has taken charge of them. Add to this poor selections and weak game plans this reference might not reflect the full picture here.
So where do we go to become even more accurate?
Why not compare our best 150 players to that of Australia and New Zealand!
That’s right, let’s take a look at Super rugby, the elite competition which serves as a stepping stone for national selection in each of the SANZAR partners.
The average winning percentage for the champion team of the competition since its inception comes in at 79% of matches won in the season. We all know quite well South Africa has won the title only twice through the Bulls.
As with the Tri Nations, the Super rugby tournament has always placed difficult travel restrictions on SA teams but that will never change.
Below I have listed the winning percentage of each of the South African teams since the competitions inception.
Sharks – 48%
Stormers – 45%
Bulls – 40%
Cheetahs – 30%
Lions – 28%
SA Overall – 38%
But again, is this really a true reflection of where we find ourselves now as a rugby nation, in a ‘golden era’ as most would elude to?
Let’s be fair here, let’s only look at how we did since 2004 in the time where we won two of those titles.
Bulls – 55%
Sharks – 52%
Stormers – 45%
Cheetahs – 25%
Lions – 18%
SA Overall since 2004 – 39%
The Bulls have shown a massive 15% improvement as did the Sharks who went over the 50% mark – as for the remaining three – well the less said the better…
So since the majority of our Boks are picked from the Sharks, Bulls and Stormers it would be safe to assume that we might just be in a little golden era here since 2004? I would think so, the figures are plain and simple, even though our overall percentage as a country only shows a 1% increase. But since when did we look to the Lions for inspiration?
But now, if we have improved, what have our competitors been up to?
Here is a breakdown of the NZAR statistics since the competition launched.
Crusaders – 66%
Blues – 62%
Hurricanes – 52%
Highlanders – 49%
Chiefs – 46%
Overall – 55%
Brumbies – 60%
Waratahs – 52%
Reds – 46%
Force – 35%
Overall – 48%
Remember SA came in at 38%
Crusaders – 75%
Hurricanes – 59%
Blues – 57%
Chiefs – 54%
Highlanders – 39%
Overall – 57%
So in New Zealand, the Highlanders seemed to have fallen off the bus and the Blues has regressed a little bit (still more than any SA team in the same time though!), but overall, NZ has improved as a whole by 2%, and given they are close to 20 percentage points ahead of us already, that is quite a statement when it comes to form…
Australia since 2004
Brumbies – 59%
Waratahs – 57%
Force – 35%
Reds – 27%
Overall – 45%
(Figures are rounded and found on www.pickandgo.info)
Australia as a whole seemed to have regressed apart from the Tahs who improved their overall record in the last 5 years.
But even then, their two top teams (which BTW contributes to a large portion of the Wallabie squad) are still better than anything SA had to offer! Their overall success rate since 2004 is also well above South Africa by 6 percentage points!
I don’t think it is necessary for me to do a Super rugby log listing the teams, you have all the information there to do it yourself. The message however is quite clear.
Which leaves me asking everyone this question;
Are we as good as we believe we are?Tweet