The best newcomer award goes to …

Written by Clayton Saville (Clayton(PJLD))

Posted in :In the news on 24 Dec 2008 at 10:12

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? 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.

Played 13:
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.

Played three:
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.

Played 14:
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.

Played 11:
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.

Played 10:
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.

Played seven:
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.

Played four:
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.

Played 10:
Two (20.0%) – one win at home, one away
Lost: Eight (80.0%) – four away, four at home

By Jan de Koning for Rugby 365


  • I see. Well done Mr de Villiers. Hope 2009 is even better.

  • Comment 1, posted at 24.12.08 10:28:09 by McLovin Reply
  • @McLovin (Comment 1) :

    Do coaches improve or decline in their second year usually?

    Silly question coz it will be different for each coach but i think PdV will improve.

    Well Done.

  • Comment 2, posted at 24.12.08 12:51:28 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©

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