JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

On the money, on the ball - stats the way for Wallabies

Date

Matthew Burke

Matt Burke adapts the <em>Moneyball </em>theory to Rugby.

Matt Burke adapts the Moneyball theory to Rugby.

During the week I finally got around to watching the movie Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt. If you haven't seen it, the premise of the movie is that baseballers should not be judged on reputation, history or influence but formulating a statistical profile that will show via percentages and averages their true value on the park. Basically, they became statistics men.

I thought a little deeper about this scenario and wondered if you could adapt that Moneyball theory to rugby. I am not going to go as far as Jonah Hill's character did with regards to stats; my thinking is could you choose a Wallabies team without prejudice or influence playing a factor? Perhaps this could be a mid-term grade for the players on show at the moment in this year's Super Rugby competition.

This is what I have come up with, so please get vocal if you think any other players should fit the bill. Rest assured when Robbie Deans announces his squad soon for the Tests, there will be the familiar faces. The incumbents will figure, but my reasoning is somewhat from an outsider's point of view, based on the form this year and the "give them a go factor".

15 Bernard Foley

He has provided another attacking option to the Waratahs. He reads the game very well and his running lines have made old new again. His try against the Rebels in round nine captured my imagination with that great attacking line.

14 Dom Shipperley

Nothing like having genuine speed. His ability to finish off the try is the best of this crop of wingers. Recent wingers have gone in cycles from small to massive to sharp to big again. Shipperley fits the latest mould. By the way, the try to sink the Waratahs rates pretty highly, too.

13 Digby Ioane

Having sat some time out, nothing seems to have been lost in the excitement factor. The outside-centre has to break the line, tackle hard and sometimes do the yards of a forward.

12 Pat McCabe

His form has been outstanding this season. He's constantly getting over the advantage line and starting to add subtleties to his game. This Brumby has outplayed all his opposites.

11 Tom Kingston

Youth is great isn't it - the ability to run and have no fear. When given an opportunity this season, he hasn't disappointed. This Waratah has the ability to play other positions but is settling in nicely on the wing.

10 Christian Lealiifano

The pick of the five-eighths, he is playing with so much confidence. The only No. 10 to take the ball straight to the opposition and hold the defence. Nice offloads allow others to benefit from his running and passing skills.

9 Brendan McKibbin

Busy, niggly and aggressive yet still making the right decisions, he fits into the classic halfback role.

8 Ben Mowen

It looks to me like he's just enjoying leading from the front. Varying his role from the tight to playing a little wider. Seems to have found a new level of rugby brawn and brain.

7 Michael Hooper

Aren't these young guys supposed to fear something? No more it seems. Hooper has been on the ball, over the ball, over the ruck, on the ground, the tackler, the ball stealer, the try-scorer. It seems he can do everything.

6 Dave Dennis

He has been owning the blindside of the scrum. Perhaps his best trait this year has been his dominance with the ball in hand. He has been making a nuisance for defences by running off the ball players.

5 Scott Fardy

Another of the unsung heroes in a Brumbies team of new blood. It's all about doing your job in the second row. Collect the ball and deliver on a platter to the halfback. Fardy's ticking the boxes there.

4 Nathan Sharpe

An old dog with some new tricks. He's making it look easy. Having been there for so long, perhaps it just is. He looks to have a new vigour to play again or perhaps to prove a point.

3 Sekope Kepu

Perhaps already established but performing like there is so much to play for. Establishing a good front-row union at the Tahs.

2 Stephen Moore

I think not having the captain's armband has been the call of the century from Jake White. Playing with freedom and a high skill level. Still senior enough to call the shots but happy to just play.

1 Benn Robinson

The emotional low of missing the World Cup has spurred the man into business. Taking over the Tahs captaincy has provided a sense of calm. There is a pride in the workplace and others are following. Still the best in the business wearing the No. 1 jersey.

And to the bench.

16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Scott Higginbotham, 18 Chris Alcock, 19 Fotu Auelua, 20 Kane Douglas, 21 Joe Tomane, 22 Nic White.

All will be revealed soon but it will be interesting to see when the team is announced how far off I am with my hypothetical line-up. Either way, perhaps some of the above mentioned deserve a chance.

Twitter - burkey710

30 comments so far

  • On current performance, a fairly good team Burkey....

    You don't have enough front rowers on the bench, so you need a prop that can play both tight and loose, so maybe Benny A in and Higginbotham out, simply cause Fardy can play 6. I also like Fardy's aggression. He has that bit of mongel you like in a lock.

    I would also swap Douglas for Simmons.

    Lealiifano was a no brainer but his horrible injury last night means that Beale should come in. Beale has played well at 15 and was brilliant at 10 on Friday. Also has a proven track record for the Wallabies.

    Tomane grows each week. He is that sort of player that defenders hang off because they are unsure of he will go flat out or dance and he is developing a first class offload. He is also running excellent lines.

    It would have been amazing to think at the start of the season that a Wallabies squad could be without Pocock but agree that Hooper has been nothing short of phenomenal. I think Pocock is struggling with the weight of captaincy. It is hard to have your head buried in every second ruck and guide the team at the same time.

    Commenter
    Tahed 4 Life
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    May 06, 2012, 9:18AM
    • An interesting looking side. Sad that Lealifano might not get his chance this year as he was playing great. Only real problem with this team is the bench. Need another prop surely? Also 16-22 seem a bit out of the traditional order.

      Commenter
      Meatsack
      Location
      Queensland
      Date and time
      May 06, 2012, 9:22AM
      • Nice effort Matt and agree with the majority of your team.
        Last nights Brumbies V Waratahs match did however sort out the claims of some of your team and left a few short.
        Kingston was overwhelmed defensively and ineffective running in traffic. He has potential as you say on the wing, but not yet for mine.
        McKibbin was too easily isolated by the Brumbies 'in your face defence', and at other times took the wrong option of when to pass/run/kick. He was also comprehensively outplayed by White.
        Dennis has been a stand out. I would love to see him play with a mobile and skillful pack like the Brumbies.
        With Lealiifino out injured and McKibbin not making my team, I'll have to now find a goal kicker.....perhaps Cooper as he can do everything.

        Commenter
        Ideas Man
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        May 06, 2012, 9:31AM
        • In fairness, Kingston has been brilliant on the wing, but has not looked anywhere near as good at outside centre. If you looked purely at the games where he played on the wing, he would be in the mix for sure.

          I'd probably have Tomane in the starting lineup ahead of Shipperley. I think he has been outstanding. Shipperley by comparision is a bit one dimensional, relying purely on speed.

          Foley has been the pick of the fullbacks in my opinion, but Mogg is not far behind.

          And I will be amazed if Dave Dennis doesn't get a game for the Wallabies this year, he has been a standout in an often ordinary Waratahs team. Has a high work rate, runs the ball well and just seems to be everywhere for the full 80 minutes.

          Commenter
          M
          Date and time
          May 07, 2012, 12:09PM
      • The Wallabies have a 52% test win stat, 68% loss record to NZ. http://www.rugbydata.com/australia/teamsplayed
        If I turned up to my job and got 52% of my work correct, I would not last more than a few days, if not sacked, then my employer would go broke.
        Wait a minute, isn't the ARU hemorrhaging money???

        Commenter
        youmetown
        Date and time
        May 06, 2012, 10:23AM
        • I think this analysis would also get you sacked. Clearly a 52% win ration does not equate to getting 52% of your work correct.

          Commenter
          Ed
          Date and time
          May 06, 2012, 11:26AM
        • Ed.....A 52% win rate is getting 52% correct, whats your point? they are getting 48% incorrect.

          Commenter
          youmetown
          Date and time
          May 06, 2012, 6:00PM
        • A 52 per cent win rate is exactly that  - a win rate (Deans's win rate BTW is 60 per cent).

          It's not necessarily a reflection of whether things are being done correctly.

          Look at Nick Mallet's tenure with Italy. Most people agree he did a good job, which means he got a lot of things right correct. His win rate was 27%.

          Commenter
          Ed
          Date and time
          May 06, 2012, 9:15PM
      • Matt -

        Three Aloysians in the backline and a Pius bloke at #7? Have the Joeys poaching brigade been on strike the last decade?

        Commenter
        Steve McQueen
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        May 06, 2012, 10:29AM
        • Why would anyone in their right mind leave a school like Aloysius? There as some things a cheque book can't buy.

          Commenter
          CaudalRaphe
          Date and time
          May 07, 2012, 10:08AM

      More comments

      Make a comment

      You are logged in as [Logout]

      All information entered below may be published.

      Error: Please enter your screen name.

      Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

      Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

      Error: Please enter your comment.

      Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

      Post to

      You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

      Thank you

      Your comment has been submitted for approval.

      Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

      Super Rugby 2015

      Round 1
      Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
      CRU 10vs REB 20 Report Stats
      BRU 47vs RED 3 Stats
      Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
      LIO 8vs HUR 22 Report Stats
      BLU 18vs CHF 23 Report Stats
      Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
      SHA 29vs CHT 35 Report Stats
      BUL 17vs STO 29 Report Stats
      WAR 13vs FOR 25 Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 2
      Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
      CHF 19vs BRU 17 Report Stats
      REB 28vs WAR 38 Report Stats
      Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
      BUL 13vs HUR 17 Report Stats
      HIG 20vs CRU 26 Report Stats
      RED 18vs FOR 6 Report Stats
      Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
      STO 27vs BLU 16 Report Stats
      SHA 29vs LIO 12 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 3
      Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
      HIG 20vs RED 13 Report Stats
      FOR 13vs HUR 42 Stats
      Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
      CHT 25vs BLU 24 Report Stats
      CHF 40vs CRU 16 Stats
      REB 15vs BRU 20 Report Stats
      Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
      BUL 43vs SHA 35 Report Stats
      LIO 19vs STO 22 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 4
      Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
      CHF 17vs HIG 20 Report Stats
      BRU 27vs FOR 15 Report Stats
      Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
      BLU 10vs LIO 13 Report Stats
      RED 5vs WAR 23 Report Stats
      Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
      CHT 20vs BUL 39 Report Stats
      STO 29vs SHA 13 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 5
      Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
      HUR 30vs BLU 23 Report Stats
      FOR 17vs REB 21 Report Stats
      Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
      CRU 34vs LIO 6 Report Stats
      HIG 26vs WAR 19 Report Stats
      RED 0vs BRU 29 Stats
      Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
      STO 19vs CHF 28 Report Stats
      CHT 10vs SHA 27 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 6
      Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
      HIG 13vs HUR 20 Report Stats
      REB 16vs LIO 20 Report Stats
      Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
      CRU 57vs CHT 14 Report Stats
      Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
      BUL 25vs FOR 24 Report Stats
      SHA 12vs CHF 11 Report Stats
      WAR 28vs BRU 13 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 7
      Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
      HUR 36vs REB 12 Report Stats
      RED 17vs LIO 18 Report Stats
      Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
      CHF 37vs CHT 27 Report Stats
      HIG 39vs STO 21 Report Stats
      WAR 23vs BLU 11 Report Stats
      Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
      SHA 15vs FOR 9 Report Stats
      BUL 31vs CRU 19 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 8
      Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
      HUR 25vs STO 20 Report Stats
      REB 23vs RED 15 Report Stats
      Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
      CHF 23vs BLU 16 Report Stats
      BRU 20vs CHT 3 Report Stats
      Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
      SHA 10vs CRU 52 Report Stats
      LIO 22vs BUL 18 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 9
      Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
      BLU 16vs BRU 14 Report Stats
      Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
      CRU 20vs HIG 25 Report Stats
      WAR 18vs STO 32 Report Stats
      FOR 15vs CHT 24 Report Stats
      Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
      LIO 23vs SHA 21 Report Stats
      BUL 43vs RED 22 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 10
      Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
      CRU 9vs CHF 26 Report Stats
      Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
      HUR 24vs WAR 29 Report Stats
      HIG 30vs BLU 24 Report Stats
      BRU 8vs REB 13 Report Stats
      FOR 6vs STO 13 Report Stats
      Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
      SHA 10vs BUL 17 Report Stats
      CHT 17vs RED 18 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 11
      Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
      CHF 35vs FOR 27 Report Stats
      BRU 31vs HIG 18 Report Stats
      Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
      CRU 29vs BLU 15 Report Stats
      WAR 18vs REB 16 Report Stats
      Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
      LIO 34vs CHT 29 Report Stats
      STO 15vs BUL 13 Report Stats
      RED 19vs HUR 35 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 12
      Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
      HIG 48vs SHA 15 Report Stats
      BRU 10vs WAR 13 Report Stats
      Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
      BLU 41vs FOR 24 Report Stats
      HUR 29vs CRU 23 Report Stats
      REB 16vs CHF 15 Report Stats
      Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
      CHT 25vs STO 17 Report Stats
      BUL 35vs LIO 33 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 13
      Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
      CRU 58vs RED 17 Report Stats
      REB 42vs BLU 22 Report Stats
      Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
      HUR 32vs SHA 24 Report Stats
      FOR 18vs WAR 11 Report Stats
      LIO 28vs HIG 23 Report Stats
      Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
      STO 25vs BRU 24 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 14
      Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
      BLU 23vs BUL 18 Report Stats
      RED 46vs REB 29 Stats
      Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
      HUR 22vs CHF 18 Report Stats
      WAR 33vs SHA 18 Report Stats
      Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
      LIO 20vs BRU 30 Stats
      CHT 24vs HIG 45 Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 15
      Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
      CHF 34vs BUL 20 Report Stats
      RED 14vs SHA 21 Report Stats
      Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
      BLU 5vs HUR 29 Report Stats
      WAR 32vs CRU 22 Report Stats
      FOR 3vs HIG 23 Report Stats
      Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
      CHT 17vs LIO 40 Report Stats
      STO 31vs REB 15 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 16
      Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
      CRU 35vs HUR 18 Report Stats
      BRU 22vs BUL 16 Report Stats
      Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
      SHA 25vs REB 21 Report Stats
      HIG 36vs CHF 9 Report Stats
      FOR 10vs RED 32 Report Stats
      Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
      STO 42vs CHT 12 Report Stats
      LIO 27vs WAR 22 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 17
      Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
      HUR 56vs HIG 20 Report Stats
      FOR 20vs BRU 33 Report Stats
      Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
      REB 21vs BUL 20 Report Stats
      BLU 11vs CRU 34 Report Stats
      RED 3vs CHF 24 Report Stats
      CHT 33vs WAR 58 Report Stats
      Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
      STO 19vs LIO 19 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 18
      Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
      BLU 7vs HIG 44 Report Stats
      REB 11vs FOR 13 Report Stats
      Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
      BRU 24vs CRU 37 Report Stats
      CHF 13vs HUR 21 Report Stats
      WAR 31vs RED 5 Report Stats
      Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
      BUL 29vs CHT 42 Report Stats
      SHA 34vs STO 12 Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Super Rugby Qualifying Finals
      Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
      HIG 24vs CHF 14 Report Stats
      Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
      STO 19vs BRU 39 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Super Rugby Semi Finals
      Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
      HUR 29vs BRU 9 Stats
      WAR 17vs HIG 35 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Super Rugby Grand Final
      Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
      HUR 14vs HIG 21 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Super Rugby 2015
      Overall standings
      Team P W L D +/- Pts
      Hurricanes 16 14 2 0 170 66
      Waratahs 16 11 5 0 96 52
      Stormers 16 10 5 1 50 45
      Highlanders 16 11 5 0 117 53
      Brumbies 16 9 7 0 108 47
      Lions 16 9 6 1 -22 42
      Chiefs 16 10 6 0 73 48
      Bulls 16 7 9 0 9 38
      View all
       

      Follow Us on Facebook

      Featured advertisers