Matt Rowley August 11, 2010 126

No GravatarEveryone’s been talking about it, hell Bob Dwyer might even get sued over it; when it comes to the latest trend for yellow cards, are the All Blacks untouchable?

For when you look at the number of penalties conceded per game it would appear that trading off penalties is a clear plank in the New Zealand game plan. Just look at their tally per match so far, in which they’ve easily outstripped both the Wallabies and Springboks.

However, while those wearing Green and Gold (or Gold and Green for the Saffas) have chalked up the yellow cards to go with these penalties, those wearing black have escaped almost Scot-free. No, you didn’t imagine all those final warnings.

Which means that when it comes to a ratio of penalties per cards, you end up with this graph that shouts: something just ain’t right!

Do I think it’s the Pee Divvy conspiracy? No.

But just as when you look at Jonathan Kaplan’s stats against the Tahs, do I think there’s clearly a bias in the system? No doubt.


  • Lindommer

    Don’t worry, I fully expect karma to catch up with the ABs next year. It usually does.

  • http://rugbycoaching.net/ Simon

    It’s hard to argue that the AB’s have had a good run with ref calls, but statistics and articles like this just deter from the fact that the AB’s are playing much better rugby than the rest. All things being fair and even, Woodcock should have had ten mins in the bin in Christchurch, and McCaw should have had ten in the 2nd Bok test. But would it have mattered? I doubt it. Points difference for 3nations – New Zealand: +65, Austrlia: -14, Springboks: -51…. There is a huge difference between these teams right now!

    • Dogman

      The point being made here is not whether the end result would differ, but that the basic foundation of the game – The Laws – be applied consistently, not only across all matches, but more importantly throughout each match. This unacceptable inconsistency is what is very clearly being highlighted here.

    • ozrugbynut

      Its more than a little naive to think that penalties not given or given don’t have an impact on the game. They result in points directly, but most often indirectly e.g. when a penalty gives the attacking side good field position in their attacking 22. They result in points not being scored when the defending side are able to win the ball and clear. Sure the ABs are playing better rugby, but it is not too infrequent that a side playing ‘better’ rugby lose.

      These stats are very valid.

      Points difference matters f* all when you consider how many yellows have been given thus far in the TN.

    • JJJ

      By that rationale any team can do whatever the hell they like in a match with a significantly inferior team, because it probably wouldn’t have affected the final result. And vice versa.

  • Dally M

    Simon, how many of those +65 All Black points were scored when they had a numbers advantage due to the Saffa’s or the WB’s having less players on the field due to a yellow or red card?

    Yes the All Black are the best team in the world, but jeez it would be nice to see them kept reasonably honest for a change by a referee.

    • Harfish

      The answer is 35 out of 132 points or 26% of their points.

      Wallabies have scored 6 with the man advantage, Boks 5.

  • Podacity

    Yes, I think the ref’s penalise the AB’s more than the other teams because they are better and the ref’s expect more from them.

  • Mart

    There is no need for opinions and conspiracy theory’s.
    This article shows the facts, simple as that. It brings up the question that’s blaringly obvious. Consistency.
    it also shows another thing, Richie Mccaw is very good at getting the ref’s onside.

    • Wobblies

      Something Rocky is doing a woeful job of. Rocky appears to lack the charisma for the job. Now I’m not into guys but McCaw could sweet talk me into bed in 5 minutes and it is obvious that the refs have serious crushes on him. He gets told off like a naughty school boy, flashes his damn smile and does it all again. It’s impressive to watch and if I was a Kiwi I’d be proud as punch by his obvious ref-whispering talent.

      However I’m a f**cken Ozzie and I can see that Rocky is lacking such talent. He couldn’t charm a rugby groupie into the sack let a lone a ref! We need to find a ref whisperer and quick. Games can be won with the help of having a favourable ref and at the moment we are playing against 16…their 15 plus the ref. Penalties hurt but having yellow or red cards can take you out of the competition. This needs to be rectified and it can’t be done with just discipline. We need to get our sweet talk on. I’ve said it before Rocky isn’t the man for the job. So chnage it up and get us a ref-whisperer!

  • Louie

    When you consider the pace the games have been played at this year these stats matter.

    Plus with a kicker like dan carter in the team it can be lethal.

  • Barbarian

    The only issue I have with these stats is that with the exception of BJ Botha in Sydney every single yellow given out has been for foul play, not repeated infringement. So in not commiting any brainlessly violent acts the ABs have by and large kept their noses clean.

    • Who?

      Mitchell’s second card was for repeated infringements (both teams knocking the ball away). Mitchell’s first card was for nothing. Franks’ card was for very little. Woodcock’s completely illegal hit on Faingaa was clearly foul play, yet nothing. There is definitely inconsistency there.

      That doesn’t mean that the ABs are far and away the best team in the comp, though…

    • http://www.greenandgoldrugby.com/ Gagger

      If you’re saying there should have been more yellows for the AB repeated offisides and off feet, then I agree!

    • Juan Cote

      Bakkies was binned in the first Trinations match for killing the ball at the ruck not for foul play

    • JTM

      Yeah I agree Barbarian but also with you Who?. It is obvious from the highlight videos posted here previously and by the stats that the All Blacks get away with a bit. But there have been some pretty stupid yellows.

      So, imagine if consistency was applied across the board, and that therefore Woodcock was given a yellow, and at some stage McCaw was also given his orders…

      What we would end up with is an average of about 2-3 yellows a game!! This would obviously be utterly ridiculous.

      The issue is with the refereeing above all else including whether one team gets away with more or is better or whatever. The point is that the standard has been shocking no matter which way you look at or interpret it.

    • Gumby

      Botha. Why then wasn’t Woodcock marched. If he had been wearing a different coloured jumper chances are he would have been.

      • Batmann

        Botha did a similar thing to Woodcock in one the Lions games and got a 2 week suspension. Woodcock wasn’t even cited.

        • Westo

          What? He wasnt even sighted!!!!!! Unbelievable!

  • Linus

    Anyone who doesn’t support the AB’s knows that, from watching the games, that there is a method to the madness. They are expert at playing the referee and will take every opportunity given. It is a sensible tactic, just as the SAfricans will happily infringe offside, the Wallabies will delibrately knock a pass down given an overlap. There are components of play the different teams adopt and are reflections of the competitions in which they play coming through.

    They will happily give away multiple penalties within the 22 as well, as soon as the opposition has not taken the option to shoot at goal. I would love to analyse where the penalties take place to confirm my suspicion. I’m often struck by the cynical nature of alot of the play as well. You rarely see the All Blacks give away a try after a half break when compared to other teams. Yes they scramble well but they refuse to allow a breakdown the same opportunity to form as they would outside the 22.

    And this has been the standard operational proceedure for multiple seasons (I might even suggest further back). But when the style of play was like last year where it was a goal kicking competition, they lost that competition (No DC). I think it’s an underlying reason why World Cups result in a lost along the way tends to be a tight contest in the Quarters onwards that favours kicking sides. And somewhat explains (IMO) the consistant winning record against the WB’s

  • http://rugbycoaching.net/ Simon

    There’s little point me arguing about how good the AB’s are on a blog dedicated to the Wallabies….I would be fighting a losing battle…I simply think the difference between the AB’s and the following pack of teams including the SB and Wallabies is, at this point, during a non World Cup year…a great difference. I appreciate the stats and analysis Matt produces which is why I am a reader, but surely the point of such an article is to make all you Wallaby supporters feel better about just having lost to the AB’s for the 9th consecutive game. My original comment was to suggest that it’s more than just the odd ref call going for us that is causing this….AB’s supporters know what it’s like to have ref calls not go our way… forward pass leading to the winning try that knocked us out of the last RWC anyone? Bob Dwyers thoughts on this topic even made the NZ Herald this week so there’s a fair bit of this talk going around over here. Ref’s cop-out astounds Dwyer

    • Mart

      You must admit it takes the gloss off the wins a little though!
      (yellow cards)

    • http://www.greenandgoldrugby.com/ Gagger

      Hi Simon – no, the point of the article wasn’t to make me feel better. The quality of the AB play is pretty clear. Does you telling me about it make you feel better? It does seem the stock answer of most kiwis who comment.

      The point was simply that what people want when watching sport is a level playing field for their team. From reading around the place (and my own experience) when watching the 3Ns so far this year, it hasn’t felt that way.

      You wonder, is that just my gold eyepatch, or is it real? So you look at the stats, and this is what they tell you!

      • Podacity

        It is not a level playing field as the Wallibies are crap so far.

  • Suzy Poison

    It will be good to review these stats at the end of the Tri-Nations. Eddy Jones always maintained the refs are influenced by the home crowd. For instance a visiting player is offside in a ruck, and the whole stadium roars it’s disapproval, the ref has a split second to react, the louder the roar, the more severe the penalty. It’s been happening year in, year out. I guarantee you the All Blacks will pick up a card or too in Africa, that’s just the way it is. Same with the Wallabies, when they tour on the highveld, the ref is going to be tougher on them that the Boks. Yes it shouldn’t be that way, but that’s the way it is. The Boks had to to do it tough in Oz and NZ, refs always favour the home team. So far, the All Blacks have played 75% of their games at home, that is why the penalties per yellow card makes them come up smelling like Roses. Also so far, the home team has won 80% on the Tri-Nations games, that’s a far more valid statistic.

    • http://www.greenandgoldrugby.com/ Gagger

      Maybe Suzy, but they’ve been penalised more at home, not less with the home crowd. This puts their card ratio even more outta whack

  • RedsNut

    It may possibly be interesting to see an analysis of
    a) at what stage of the match and
    b) what part of the field
    are the ABs conceding this large number of penalties. Is it a deliberate strategy/ploy, and if so, what is behind it and why/what benefit do they gain.

    The huge differences seem to suggest (to me anyway) they do so for a reason.

  • Ewen McRedzie

    Something that annoys me greatly, is that Rocky Elsom will never talk to the Ref. While a captain such as Richie continually points out offences for the wallabies to pinged for. While Rocky stands at the 10m gap looking glum, not listening for the problems, or expressing his own issues with the opposition.

    Im not asking for a Stephen Hoiles level of Involvement, just some communication so it doesn’t always feel we are behind the 8-ball during a game in terms of whats being penalised.

    • Groucho

      McCaw was widely criticised in his first two seasons as captain for the same reason, including in New Zealand. It was one of the talking points of the 2007 QF loss to France. It’s an experience thing, partly. McCaw has gotten over his reticence and hopefully Elsom will do the same.

  • Drew B

    The only problem with these penalty stats is it appears to be purely a penalty count, not infringement count. I’d like to see some Advantage stats before I drew conclusions.
    How many times have the ref’s played advantage against the AB’s, and advantage was converted? One could argue that the South Africans and Aussies have infringed just us much, but the AB’s have been able to realise advantage that is being played more regularly, resulting in less penalties against the defending side.

  • Dally M

    Or like on Saturday when Kaplan called “Advantage, Black offside!” as the AB’s rushed Giteau in his own in-goal as he tried to get a clearing kick away. Kaplan then yelled “Advantage over. No effect” or something of that ilk.

    Now who’s to say Gits wouldn’t have shanked the kick or not anyways, however it should have been a penalty, but wasn’t. They were offside and the Aussies gained no advantage from the subsequent play. As to whyhe ruled that way, only Kaplan can explain.

  • Pingback: Inside The Numbers: Blip or bias? | Sports After Dark()

  • Dingo_Syd

    Having read all the comments I am happy in knowing that you guys are looking for excuses and not solutions. We all know why the Wallabies lost…and its not due to yellow cards or a lack there of for the All Blacks. Keep up the witch hunt

    • Batmann

      That’s the way Dingo-Syd.

      Ignore every other article written on here about the Wallabies & how bad they played and try to make out this article is being used as an excuse which it’s clearly not.

      It’s about the facts.

  • Joel

    Jonathan Kaplan had a seriously poor outing on saturday, probably the worst I have seen him ref at international level, BUT he has put Paddy O’Brien in a very tough place. He did not card Woodcock for a cheap shot that deserved a card and the usual P O’B response has been to condemn dirty play like this vociferously. So far the response from him has been deafening.

    • Gumby

      Kaplans form is there for all to see. Paddy O’Brien couldn’t face up to upsetting GH again. Hopless.

  • Skip

    You would not believe the whinging you get if you mention this to an AB fan.

    • Batmann


      They think they were unfairly targeted by Kaplan on Saturday.

    • Robson

      To me it”s just totally incredulous that Woodcock didn’t at least get a yellow. But on top of not being carded he wasn’t even cited. And no comment from PO’B either. Hell’s teeth there is something serioulsly wrong here.

      I’m amazed that the WB’s management haven’t protested about it. Well, the next time someone gets carded for a shoulder charge, and that is bound to happen before this competition is over, they have the perfect defence is they are also cited. How would a disciplinary hearing cope with that?

  • Skip

    It’s also worth mentioning that even if Saint McCaw & co did get carded, it wouldn’t have made a difference to the result as they do the basics so darn well and punish errors. However, for years and years they win crucial matches based on, except RWC when karma puts it right.

  • Richo

    Good stuff, Gagger.

    The problem with these stats is they only really tell us two things: the ABs are getting more penalties called and less yellow cards. It doesn’t actually prove any causal link between the two. One explanation could be that they heed the warnings of referees and don’t repeat in those areas and don’t play dirty enough to get them for foul play. Therefore, even though they get more penalties, they are for infringements where they haven’t been warned.

    On the other hand, they could be not getting the yellows because the ref doesn’t follow up warnings with cards for the ABs. But to have a stronger foundation for this, we need to see some stats on warnings given versus cards. If referees warn Aust and RSA and then give out cards for repeat infringements but don’t do the same for NZ, then there is a clear case of bias / inconsistency. Similarly, if the ABs are repeatedly infringing in the 22.

    What these stats do is suggest the appearance of unfair refereeing. They’re particularly damning because we’ve watched a bunch of games in which the ABs are warned but never carded, while RSA and Aust are warned and then carded. One reason RSA and Aust have less penalties might be that when warned they try to avoid repeats because they know they’ll be carded (Mitchell). Anyway, to put a few nails in the coffin we need some more detail. These just look damning.

  • Gallagher

    Alls I know is that for once, the Wallabies EFFORT and RESOLVE on the weekend is not being questioned! They stood up to the injury toll and the bad referee performance with gusto! FACTS such as injuries and bad referee performances are letting us down at the moment. But we are primed baby, PRIMED to give the Saffers/AB’s a beating!

    Bring on Hynsey and Coops!!!

    • Podacity

      Yes. They are just soft.

  • Tacksharp

    If you know anything about stats, you will realise that the ‘size’ of the graphed areas is statistically insignificant given the numbers. As you should know, the numbers can, in fact, lie. Politicians have been doing it for years! No-one disputes the actual numbers, but is there enough information to create meaningful statistics? No. BTW, I’m an AB’s supporter!

  • Roland

    Let’s say what’s right and not try to be politically correct. The wallabies would have hands down won last week with an impartial ref. That guy is a joke and should be sacked. Absolute muppett. It won’t help his countrymen escape the wooden spoon though.

    • Podacity

      Yes the Wallibies would have won if it was an egg and spoon race.

  • Gallagher

    Tacksharp, you dont know what your talking about. The graphs above can be stretched, shrunk or re-proportioned and they still show plenty of ‘meaningful statistics’. Graphs are designed to display facts in a way that brings out, in this case, an ongoing trend towards the Wallabies/Boks not being given a fair go by the refs. The trends you can see above cant be interpreted any other way, no matter how much you dribble about poltics and ‘lying numbers’ mate.

    Way I see it, the only number lying is the number one on the All Blacks backs!

  • Coc0nut

    So you think the Wallabies would have won ‘hands down’ last week if it weren’t for the ref. That is just sad and delusional thinking.
    As you Aussies say, winners are grinners though. Since we’re on statistics, we should do some analysis on th amount of whingeing that occurs post game by each nation. One country I suspect would stand head and shoulders above all others, and I wonder if there’s not a ‘causal link’ between the shared heritage between said ex-colony and the mother country.

    • James

      Where are you from coconut?

      • Coc0nut

        the islands… thought the nom de plume might’ve given it away…

        • Podacity

          I think James might be a Wallaby supporter?

        • Podacity

          Although you sound French to me. Double agent???

  • Dally M

    Are you serious Coc0nut?

    Wasn’t it the AB fans who created a hate page on Facebook for Wayne Barnes after the last World Cup?

    We just don’t see it as often because the AB’s rarely get the short end of the stick from the refs, as the numbers show.

    • James

      And the sheep brothels where they hang dont have internet yet for them to share so openly.

  • Austin

    It’s really interesting what the New Zealand commentators had to say in the following clip about two glaring errors that both occurred right in front of Kaplan on Saturday.

    No bias from them – just called it as it was and how most reasonable rugby observers would also see it.

    • Podacity

      Yes but the Ausie commentators are not that smart (Rod Kafer excepted).

  • Pants

    If refs are influenced by home crowds then we are stuffed cause we never have a ‘home’ crowd in aus. We are at most 50% of the crowd when we play the ABs. Maybe that has alot to do with it. The refs can yellow card a Wallaby in Melb and half the crowd is happy. If Kaplan yellows Woodcock and McCaw in Christchurch, the entire crowd bar the 2 wallaby supporters would have been against him. So Kaplan and refs fail by being influenced by the audience.

  • Pick and Go

    its a pretty sad state of affairs when a rugby site dedicated to a team in yellow and green is taken up almost completely with infringement analysis involving bar and pie graphs and video breakdown snippets of the opposition.

    • Roland

      It’s gold mate. Not yellow. Gold. Go back to your “mostly blacks with a white strip” website and pull eachother off about how good you think you are. Your day will come where you are focred to play France next October.

  • Coc0nut

    Dally M,
    Actually that was tongue in cheek, but no more or less so than the equally preposterous statement made by Mr. Roland…
    For what its worth, I think the Wallabies are a very good side, with some real quality players there, such as Poc0ck, Rocky Elsom, OConnor and so forth… their achilles heel has always been the platform provided by the tight-five, and specifically the front row…. this unfortunately has been the problem for some time…
    What grates is the constant whingeing about the refs and related conspiracy theories, the weather, what colour socks ‘Dingo’ Deans was wearing, etc; affecting the result of these games…. if the score was closer, like within a few points, then perhaps dodgy decisions by refs would be a factor…. but this constant effort to diminish the efforts of the ABs in this way is a little weak, with all due respect,
    We’ll see next week just how bad the refs are – my bet is that if the Wallabies manage to come away with a win in SA next week, then the whistle blower will just be fantastic, now won’t he?

    • Pants

      Say woodcock gets a yellow card. What’s the average number of points a team concedes when a man down for 10 minutes? I think its around about 10 points. Also the penalty given to the ABs in the 2nd half that they converted for 3 points was incorrect as well. So the refs CAN and DO make a substantial difference in the scoreboard. Probably more than you think.

      Granted there’s alot of whinging going on, but this is the first time I’ve been so peeved by the ref that I could be bothered to whinge about it and I think alot of us feel the same way.

      • Roland

        and on that, lets not forget the importants of momentum and the fact that within two minutes of each of the All Blacks tries, a bad ref call led to the turnover. Lets also not forget Ritchie sitting out 10 in the bin too. Or the 15 penalties he decided not to give to the WB’s.

      • Podacity

        I am sure the ref makes more difference than most of the Wallibies. Hope you get some missing Kiwi players back soon.

  • Lee Enfield

    And if the All Blacks fail to win the RWC next year, then the refs will be the worst ever.

  • http://www.myrugbymate.com MyRugby Mate

    Hmmm… more mention of biased ref’s, more mention of next years WRC… what about some good points for Australian Rugby (there are some), there’s still a lot of rugby to played in the Tri-Nations, an end of year tour (more Super 15 then another Tri-nations?) and then the WRC… that’s a lot of rugby to start getting things right.
    Pockock is playing EXTREMLY well and obviously understands what’s required, I think the Aussie forward pack is playing well (could be better but they have plenty of time to work on this) it’s more in the backline that I’m getting ‘confused’. Lack of vision was the problem in the last match combined with a lack of execution.
    Still PLENTY of rugby coming.

    • Podacity

      Poc0ck is already a legend in my book!

  • Coc0nut

    Lee Enfield – touche!

    MyRugby Mate,

    Agree – I think the Wallabies have some real prospects, and Poc0ck reminds me of a young McAwe – he is in that mold… Quade is in the mold of Carlos Spencer (the good and bad that all that entails!!)
    So yeah, rather than all this crapola about how badly they’ve apparently been done by the refs, I reckon its much better to focus on the positives, which is that there is a good mix of talent in the Wallaby team, which should be coming along nicely by the time the World cup comes around… and this is from a fanatical AB supporter!
    On another issue, Rocky Elsom needs to lighten up a little in his post match commentry – he is just a wet blanket sometimes… just downright depressing, and not that complementary of the opposing side either… but I digress..

  • Coc0nut

    Pants…. coulda, shoulda, woulda…. look it all balances out… there was an opportunist try by the Wallabies in there, if you are really honest with yourselves they never looked like scoring, and the backline moves were fairly one dimensional… the last game the ABs had someone in the bin they actually scored again themselves, plus their defensive effort in the last game was exceptional – so it is a bit of a stretch to think they would have leaked all the points you say they would have….?? If people complain that the ABs should have had one less player on the field and that would have changed the result, then I suppose AB supporters should take that as a complement – because what you in effect saying is – you need that in order to beat them!
    I am as annoyed as the next person at the red carding however… because that has ruined the recent games as a spectacle – and takes the gloss of the victory in many ways… (just not the history books eh boys?)

  • http://www.myrugbymate.com MyRugby Mate

    @ Coc0nut
    Finally some sense around here!

    Check this…

    28-08-2010 Springboks v Qantas Wallabies Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
    04-09-2010 Springboks v Qantas Wallabies Vodacom Park, Bloemfontein
    11-09-2010 Qantas Wallabies v All Blacks ANZ Stadium, Sydney
    End of Tri-Nations

    30-10-2010 All Blacks v Australia, Hong Kong

    Start of Spring Tour
    06-11-2010 Wales v Qantas Wallabies Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
    09-11-2010 Leicester v Qantas Wallabies Welford Road, Leicester
    13-11-2010 England v Qantas Wallabies Twickenham, London
    16-11-2010 Munster v Qantas Wallabies Thomond Park, Limerick
    20-11-2010 Italy v Qantas Wallabies Stad Artemio Franchi, Florence
    27-11-2010 France v Qantas Wallabies Stade de France, Paris

    Then the start of the Super 15…

    Are there any pre-tri-nations test matches scheduled for 2011?

    Then tri-Nations 2011…

    Who gives a flying f&*k about world cups at the moment?
    Looking at the amount of rugby coming before then, will be amazed if there’s anyone we recognise left standing!

  • Tacksharp

    Gallagher, the graph I was referring to was the penalties per yellow card (which was the link I clicked on to get to this article). It would only take one yellow to drastically change the size and shape of that graph. If you just look at the numbers, Game 1 was the only game with any real difference in penalties. And do you honestly think the Boks had a chance to win that one? They would have had 14 players for 77 minutes if any of the officials had spotted that boozo headbutt.

    Also, I keep seeing the Woodcock incident referred to as an shoulder charge. Didn’t he have his arms wrapped? Nasty and unnecessary, but not with his shoulder. He wasn’t cited because, strictly speaking, he was clearing out someone potentially slowing down the AB’s play. And I’m not surprised the WB was slow getting out, he was exhausted by the AB’s!

  • Dally M


    Check this out then & tell me what the difference is. Other than Woodcock’s was worse as it was a cowardly act from behind & the 2 weeks that Botha was suspended for vs just the penalty for Woodcock.


  • Dally M

    This one probably sums it up better:

  • Roland

    On the upside, we have a real crack of getting the Mandella plate back this year on a year where the boks have 2 home games, and are they shortening next years TN’s meanign we only have to win 1/2 to retain enxt year? It seems to me people in Australia don’t care much for the Mandella plate, but it is one that we have won three of the last four years.

    Let’s not kid ourselves, it’s not the Bledisloe, but we have a good crack at some pretty decent silverware and maybe a world #2 ranking. Not bad considering 5-7 starting players are injured (pending what state you come from).

    Also, drawing the series 2-2 with the AB’s would be a good way to lead into next year so let’s move on and get behind our boys in the green and GOLD!

    PS: Pick and Go, don’t upset me with your Scotland chat. It’s like teasing me about a death in the family. A part of me died that night.

  • Tacksharp

    Dally M, Point taken. Woodcock deserved a suspension as the others did. Or did the others? The Welsh guy that Botha hit thought it was fine (other than that he got injured, of course). The first one looked the worst. Woodcock’s looked the meanest. But he did have his arm’s ‘wrapped.’ In the end, everyone’s talking mainly about the reffing, not the teams. It’s a pity when refs have such an important role in a game.

    • http://www.greenandgoldrugby.com/ Gagger

      Tacksharp, it may have escaped your attention, but Fiangaa didn’t have the ball and wasn’t attatched to any ruck, so whether Woodcock’s arms were wrapped or not doesn’t matter. It was a hit off the ball.

  • Pick and Go

    I wouldn’t feel the need to mate but if the shoe was on the other foot how would you go? I saw some of your posts proclaiming that the Wallabies would win 15+ in the last couple of tests. You should learn have a bit more humility but I understand thats a difficult thing for a lot of you blokes

    • http://www.greenandgoldrugby.com/ Gagger

      If you’d learned not to be a dickhead you wouldn’t have just been banned from this site

    • Roland

      Mate I will never tip against the Wallabies, Never. It’s why I always come second in the Super 14 tipping competitions. I never tip against the reds. Worked well for me this year. Pick & Go, did you come on here expecting to hear a bunch of pissed off australians talk about how good NZ are.

      I don’t think your team is as convincing as you think and you are an average bloke at best. Good day to you.

  • He


    “He was clearing out someone potentially slowing down the AB’s play.”

    By smashing Faainga straight back into where the balls coming out of, that will really quicken things.

  • Gallagher

    RIP Pick n Go

    Pinprick – You said if there was just one more Yellow card, it would change the shape of the graphs… You know what, thats EXACTLY what the graphs are trying to point out mate! If the Ref had given Woodcock the Yellow, we woulda had a game on our hands! And then there would be no statistics that show graphs like what we have above, now would there…

  • Bullet

    the ABs are the untouchABles!! but karma will have the last say!

  • Coc0nut

    Well just to show that some of us AB supporters can rise above the pettiness, best of luck to the Wallabies against South Africa, I for one hope you guys can win, because the Wallabies play positive rugby, unlike the South Africans…

  • Tacksharp

    Gagger, if, as you say, it being a hit off the ball is the issue, then why wasn’t Woodcock cited?

    Gallagher, do you honestly think that it would have made that much difference? And what’s with the petty name-calling?

    A la Coc0nut, I hope the WB’s whip the Boks.

    • http://www.greenandgoldrugby.com/ Gagger

      Welcome to the discussion Tacksharp, looks like your name’s heavily ironic

  • Gallagher

    Yes Tacksharp, yes I do. Unfortunately theres no way to prove that to you as you dont agree with the use of statistics and graphs…. go the ABs supporting the Wallabies!

  • http://www.myrugbymate.com MyRugby Mate

    As a Kiwi supporter, A la Coc0nut and Tacksharp, come on Wallabies get up and SMITE those Saffas!
    Ref’s are not perfect, they make mistakes and you can’t change the past – move on and concentrate on moving forward!

  • Lee Enfield

    If the Wallabies don’t win at least one game in South Africa, then for me, they have failed and all this talk of improvement will have been, just that, all talk . For the first time in a long time, the Wallabies have a genuine shot in beating the Boks at altitude and they need to, so they can start building a wiining culture leading up to the RWC. Injuries be damned, this group of players have now played enough tests to start winning consistantly. If they can’t get over the line in South Africa at least once, then Deans should wield the axe and wield wildly, chopping down the deadwood in this team. No more excuses.

  • Tacksharp

    Touche, Gagger. But I thought we were talking about the rugby.

  • abfan

    fallacy false dilemma. infringements could easily have been spread over a variety of errors on the field ranging from scrums to offside and others thus a pentalty totality tally is misleading and often pushes an agenda, a specific infringement vs outcome of said infringement count would be required to accurately evalulate the favortisim to the extent of the implication (refs misconduct & and or nz cheat) in your article.

    The only area that would be of some concern is the 12 – 5 spread against the boks. as for the rest of the TN pentaly spread nothing there to support your case as these barely differentiate from last years TN, more so a count of 1-3 more penalties for one team over another is frequent in rugby union.

  • Tacksharp

    Thank you. That was my point when comparing the 2 graphs – one with straight data that didn’t look so bad, and one ‘massaged’ to make the AB’s bar look massive ie; their penalty count per yellow card.

    WB supporters.
    If the WB’s had won, would the supporters be complaining? No. If the WB’s had won would the AB supporters be complaining about, for instance, the high count of WB forward passes that the ref didn’t pick up? Hell, yes.

    This conversation would have been very different. Put things into perspective a bit? Basically, there will always be bad decisions by the ref, and we all like a good argument.

  • Derano

    Karma? Has that all that Australia have got to hope for now? Is spirit fingers in the air really gonna work.?

    I think after the whinging about all the previous yellow cards, the referees have decided to keep the cards in their pockets and let the players sort it out. Fainga did alot of lying on the wrong side, it can be a dangerous place to be. We all know Drew should never have been binned. Did anyone see Browns no arms, late hit on McCaw during one of the All Blacks tries, I think it was Woodcocks one?

  • Melsees

    Despite whats been said about the Wallabies and Gitts as of late, I would say that things are looking better than ever for Deensy. Without the best crop who are mostly injured against AB’s best and fairest, if not for the butter fingers from the GAG’s, the boys definitely had them on the rack for the taking. Ole Henry was shit scared thus the animations in the command tower caught on camera. Bugger the losing record the Phoenix is rising from the ashes, with Coops coming back this team is gonna be one of the best Wallaby team’s ever.

  • http://www.myrugbymate.com MyRugby Mate

    Hmmm… nope.
    There’s 14 13 other players in the team that need to start stepping up big time… a long way to go yet…

  • Melsees

    Oh just one other thing, Gitts needs to take a sabbatical and let Antfang do the hard yards. He’s been workin his ‘a’ off for a while now and needs a well earned break from the spotlight and revamp his personal game so that others can bloody well perform like their supposed to be doin.

  • http://www.vwd.co.za Francois Botha

    Before jumping to conclusions, it’s worth viewing the TED talk about statistics:

    I’m not saying it’s necessarily the same case, but clearly, your charts are also based on conditional probabilities. And with a relatively small sample set, such anomalies are not totally out of the ordinary.

    My opinion is that you are correct in saying that there is a bias towards the All Blacks, but I don’t think it’s as big as the charts indicate.

  • Joe

    Bah you can make any set of results bad with the right comparison graph as showed here, simple fact of it is theres been plenty of bad calls on both sides and this is just sour grapes. Like the above poster said you’d never be complaining about this if you won.

  • Pants
  • Jay

    Oh Dear.

    What with the likes of Dwyer swallowing up that “All Blacks at the Breakdown” video and Bills using this highly flawed graph, it’s not really doing much for the credibility of so called “Experts”, is it?

  • wilsonrob

    haha what a load. Since when has there been a correlation between yellow cards and penalties? Maybe you should do one with scrums to yellowcards or the amount of spectators at each game – would be just as relevant.

  • Neil

    They’re just giving the ABs the calls now because you know they’re going to be screwed by the refs in the world cup again next year.

  • Josywales

    I think instead of the Boks pulling out of the TNs maybe the AB’s should be making the threats. We are so sick of you losers continually looking for some excuse for your total incompetent players. Just get on with the game and stop looking to blame someone. Maybe it is time to start a Provincial league so you can get your numbers and depth up. This is the professional age and you guys are acting like kids playing in the amateur ranks.

  • Coc0nut

    The problem stems from the insular thinking of the Afrikaner Rugby administrators. I’ve been to South Africa and seen first hand the kind of ‘us against them’ attitude that seems to pervade most of white South Africa. This mentality of course is not that strange, given the years of Apartheid, sanctions and isolation; but its not that helpful when you are playing and promoting a sport in this professional era, and have just signed a multi-million dollar broadcasting rights deal with News Ltd. The kind of paranoia we are seeing coming out of SA is self destructive, and will ultimately, if followed through on, result in SA heading back into the rugby wilderness. Its sad, when you can see the gains they have made over the past few years in professional S10, S12, S14 rugby.

    • Piet

      Stating the obvious: Neither the coach nor the rugby boss is white or an Afrikaner. If there is an “us against them” attitude over here, it’s certainly not restricted to whites and it’s reinforced by people like you with your simplistic stereotyping of South Africans. I don’t think the reigning world champion is heading back into the wilderness just yet.

      • Coc0nut

        Piet – I apologise if I have oversimplified South Africa, its people and its issues – which are, I fully appreciate, extremely complicated and will take years (and likely generations) to overcome. My view comes from the many conversations I had whilst in South Africa – (and may I hastily say at this point that the generosity and hospitality shown to me by South Africans of every ethnic background while I was there was fantastic)….
        However, there does seem to be a very real ‘siege’ mentality over there – I made an assumption that this may stem from the years of isolation the country faced during the era of Aparthied – if this is wrong, then I stand to be corrected. But take a simple glance over the South African rugby websites and you’ll see the forums chock full of indignant South Africans with Dutch sounding names, frothing at the mouth about taking their game somewhere else because of a litany of percieved slights – and its not hard to draw the same conclusions as I did.

  • Ian Cook

    The stats on penalties per yellow card mean absolutely nothing. False conclusions are being drawn for a number of reasons

    1. the sample is far too small to be useful.
    If you calculate the margin for error in such a small sample (1:43 v 3:21 v 4:24) its around 92%. That makes the stats very unreliable.
    e.g. Country “A” (say Fiji) has sent 1 boxer to the Olympic games in their entire history, and he won a Gold Medal.. strike rate 100%, Country “B” (say USA) has sent 372 boxers the the Olympic games and 31 of them have won Gold Medals, strike rate 8.3%. Does that make Fiji 12 times better at Olympic Boxing than the USA?

    2. the items being compared are not equal
    Free-kicks are being lumped in with penalties, and not all penalties attract the same punishments. e.g. Team A could give away penalty kicks for four offsides, two crooked feeds, two lineout balks, two collapsed scrums, two ruck infringements, two not releasing, two detaching early from scrums, two outside arm penalties at lineouts, a total of 18 penalties and not get a single yellow card. Team B commits two head high tackles, two shoulder charges, three tip tackles and two late tackles, a total of 9 penalties and end up getting four yellow cards.

    3. The conclusions are meaningless without the raw data
    This relates to the two above. Without knowing what the penalties are for, and where on the field they were, any conclusions you draw mean nothing. The people who put out this crap know exactly what they are doing and they know they are drawing false conclusions from a sub-standard raw data set. They are VERY careful not publish anything other than their false conclusions.

    • Pants

      Its when you combine the stats with other things, like the failure to yellow woodcock and the endless ‘final warnings’ for McCaw and co that the stats start to take on some meaning. The ABs could easily have had 4 yellows so far.

      • Jay

        Well if you combine anything with fictitious events (like McCaw’s endless final warnings) you can come to basically any conclusion you’d like.

        I’m gonna say that this stat, combined with the fact that Rocky Elsom and Drew Mitchell both eat babies, shows that the Wallabies are actually evil incarnate.

        Wow, this making sh*t up to prove your argument is FUN!

        • Tacksharp

          Jay. Brilliant.

    • abfan

      well said :)

  • Tacksharp

    Ian Cook, thank you. You have brought some good, honest thinking to all this blustering. It would be interesting to see a graph that outlines the real stats to settle this matter one way or the other.

    I challenge Gagger to do this.

  • abfan

    funny how when logic and critical thinking are used to accurately investigate the claims. the “experts” are nowhere to be found. exit stage left. nice posts jay.

  • http://www.greenandgoldrugby.com/ Gagger

    Fark, for subject that you guys don’t reckon deserves any airtime, you sure like to wang on about it.

    Reasonably put points Ian, but in response to

    1) How many penalties, matches and yellow cards would we need to have in this year’s Tri-Nations before we got to a confidence interval that you would be comfortable with?
    I’m assuming we couldn’t get to a level that would make you statistically happy, due to it’s set number of fixtures.

    The good news is there are plenty of areas where data is still used to guide decisions, even with small sets. Take oncology drug development for example; companies decide to make multi-million dollar decisions on which tumors to pursue with a product based on data sets and effect sizes even smaller than the one I’ve shown in this article.

    Considering this is the data we’ve got, I’d say the 5 to 6 multiple difference isn’t a bad indicator at this point.

    2 & 3) Wrong. These are full arm penalties only. I’ll leave it to you to break out what they were for.

    As for the argument made by others that Yellows and Penalties have no relation to each other – WTF are you on? Yellow cards are given for;
    – continual infringements where you rack up penalties and either get a YC because of it, or just get penalised where you should have got a YC
    – foul play where you should have got a YC but instead get penalty
    – professional fouls where you should have got a YC but get penalised instead
    They’re all fucking linked!

    You guys can bring out the Emeritus Professor in Stutustucs from Taranaki University to argue the flipside on this and it ain’t gonna change a lot.

    I’m puzzled why though? Even Richie admits he manipulates the ref, sorry “changes according to interpretations”. It’s a skill-set I wish our guys had more of. According to Ewen McKenzie on Ruggamatrix two weeks ago, Andrew Braid has been schooling the Reds on these techniques.

    • Coc0nut

      “Stutustucs from Taranaki University..” Classic. You guys are just taking the peeese aren’t you? A real fushing trip..

      The only thing I would point out is the inconsistencies in this argument about the ABs being ‘unfairly’ favoured:
      1. The central pillar to this argument is Woodcock’s clean-out, which I think we all agree should have been yellow-carded. Then, thats it really…. hardly damning evidence of the alleged bias. Several people have already pointed out similar occasions where this kind of thing went unpunished from both other teams as well.
      2. The repeated statements to the effect that Richie ‘plays the refs’ well, and “why can’t we do that better too…?” So in other words, what you’re really saying is “Richie is a cheat, he gets away with it, why can’t we?!” That is confusing – because its means that cheating is only ok if you can get away with it yourselves… hmmmm – c’mon guys get some consistency here…
      3. Loitering offside and slowly retreating runners aren’t new – the Aussies are just as good at it as anyone – I’ve lost count how many times Smith used to slap the ball out of the players hands when on defense to give away a cheaper penalty – and don’t even get me started on the Boks long history of cheating and foul play – if ever there was a case of the pot calling the kettle black….!

      I guess the only real conclusion to made out of all of this debate is that, as I said earlier, ‘winners are grinners’ and cheating is ok, ifyou’re the team winning. If not, then some genius is going to sit there going though all mathematical probabilities to ‘prove’ that ABs are being unfairly favoured.

    • abfan

      “As for the argument made by others that Yellows and Penalties have no relation to each other – WTF are you on?

      Yellow cards are given for; continual infringements where you rack up penalties and either get a YC because of it, or just get penalised where you should have got a YC- foul play where you should have got a YC but instead get penalty- professional fouls where you should have got a YC but get penalised instead They’re all fucking linked!”

      I think you missed the point, they are related but not to the extent that you presented them in your charts gagger. how many pentalties would u like before a yellow card is issued. 2? 4? 6? comon whats the number that makes it fair? tell us.

      No. the reason you cannot give a number is because yellow cards are are simply not just about the amount of penalities received. as for your little rant above, you never provided the data for your accurate observations but hinged your article on the shock factor of the volume of penalties. “Stutustucical” analysis is not your strong point perhaps you should write to Emeritus Professor and apply for tuition.

  • Tacksharp

    Gagger, this stats issue gets airtime from “us guys” to combat the appalling, ‘jump on the bandwagon without checking’ attention it is getting from ‘you guys’ – even now with the media.

    With regards to your comment about the Health industry using similar sample sizes, you would have to look at the type of experiment they were running – is it single case research design (small numbers of participants), which looks at interventions and results per individual, or the ‘classic’ experiment which uses many participants in order to examine trends. I don’t know which experiment you are referring to, but I doubt it was the multi-participant intervention which usually needs hundreds, if not thousands of subjects to provide robust, valid results.

    Gagger, once again, I challenge you to come up with the real goods. Before you produce graphs on an international forum, please make sure they are statistically significant. They may be, but we don’t know for sure.

  • Ian Cook

    Gagger. I’m going to take a guess and suggest you are a.k.a. pascops… yes?

    OK, I’m going to chop the legs out from under this ridiculous penalties to yellow cards ratio crap once and for all. Here are the stats from the last Six Nations, after all matches completed. The figures are penalties conceded per yellow or red card awarded

    England 51/0 – rate cannot be calculated. England never received a card
    Scotland 45/0 – rate cannot be calculated. Scotland never received a card
    Ireland 62/2 – rate 31
    Wales 55/4 – rate 13.75
    France 54/1 – rate 54
    Italy 66/4 – rate 16.5

    I expect that Italy and Wales will soon be filing their official complaints that the referees were biased towards England, Scotland and France.

    So lets look at last year’s Tri-Nations

    New Zealand 69/2 – 34.5
    South Africa 66/2 – 33
    Australia 62/4 – 15.5

    And this one beautifully demonstrates the folly of using tiny samples to draw statistical conclusions. It would only have taken THREE refereeing decisions over the entire nine match series to dramatically change the outcome of this analysis. If the referees had awarded one more yellow card (the minimum unitary statistical change) each to New Zealand and South Africa , and one less to Australia, the result would look like this.

    New Zealand 69/3 – 23
    South Africa 66/3 – 22
    Australia 62/3 – 20.7

    So much for referee bias then!!

    • Batmann

      Yes, yes. We all know that statistics can be manipulated any way you want to prove a point.

      However, everyone arguing about small sample sizes, skewed stats etc. seems to have ignored the whole reason the article came to be.

      And that was the fact that NZ were deliberately infringing, giving away penalties, racking up the final warnings, and yet escaping the yellow cards.

      The fact that one could watch the replays with the Kiwi commentators & hear them state that the AB’s were lucky to get away with that one, or he’s lucky to still be on the field sorta sums it up.

      Yes, the WB’s and Saffa’s infringe too, however i think it was Link & Casho on Ruggamatrix the other day that discussed that it now seemed to be one of the AB’s tactics to deliberately do this. Now most would say, that’s fine everyone should do it rather than whinge about it. The problem there is that the AB’s seem to be granted far, far more latitude than any other team. And this was the point of the article.

      • Tacksharp

        Batmann. After the latest match against the Boks, does your argument still hold water?

        Anyway, now it’s the aussies’ turn to kick some bok butt!

        • Batmann

          I saw the same things happening as in the last few matches. Occasionally the ref pulled them up, otherwise it continued.

          At least there were no final, final warnings this week.

        • Jay

          There were no final final warnings in any other match, either.

    • Who Needs Melon

      Zing! Well done Ian Cook. I suspected there might be tales such as this within the stats. Well played sir. Seriously. Game, set and match.

    • http://www.greenandgoldrugby.com/ Gagger


      This is ridiculous.

      When I look at the Wallabies forwards work rates from a match, and from that note that David Pocock is had a great game because he hit more rucks and made more tackles than anyone else am I wrong in doing so because this is a small data set and the difference between his performance, Rocky Elsom’s and Richard Browns isn’t statistically significant?

      No, I can’t say that David Pocock will ALWAYS be better than Elsom or Brown, but that’s not what I’m looking to do. I’m just pointing out the effect size he had over Elsom and Brown in this match, or number of matches.

      The numbers in my post – none of which I claim are statistically significant – do the same thing. They merely represent what has happened – that the All Blacks have been penalised more times than the other two teams, but received far fewer yellow cards.

      No, there usually aren’t many YCs in rugby matches, but that’s because the effect on those matches (especially when they become red cards) is so dramatic.

      So, to follow your suit from your post where you manipulated last years numbers;
      if Woodcock had been binned for his cheap shot on Faingaa and
      if McCaw had been binned for professional fouls, repeated infringements and
      if Kaplan had remembered the number of the AB tip tackler and binned them and
      if Drew Mitchell hadn’t been binned and then redded for McCaws swan dive

      then no, these stats wouldn’t be nearly so impressive, BUT NONE OF THOSE IMPORTANT, POTENTIALLY GAME-CHANGING THINGS HAPPENED resulting in those without a black eyepatch looking at the resultant numbers and wondering why.

      As for the why – I never said referee bias, I said bias within the system. Which I actually believe comes from a multitude of factors; AB skill in the area, McCaw’s ref management, Ewen McKenzie’s black jumper theory, and yes, an element of subconscious referee deference that other teams don’t receive.

      PS – If I was the coach of Wales or Italy, I sure as fuck would be asking why they were my ratios due to the impact it would have had on my games. The answer might not lie with the refs though.

  • Batmann

    Not sure what games you’ve been watching Jay, because Ritchie was given 2 within one match, one for himself & one for the team, and both he & Rocky were given one in the match where Mitchell got the second yellow/red card.

    Try watching the games where you can hear the referee talking, not just the commentators.

    • Jay

      You know Ritchie is the captain right? So a team warning is given to him as captain?

      In the first test against the Boks, the ‘second warning’ given to him was a team warning. The fact that Dan Carter had been pinged directly prior to this should give you a bit of a clue (it’s ironic that you accuse me of listening to the commentators, cause the ref explicitly said it was a team warning – the commentators got that one wrong).

      And the warning with Rocky? You are kidding aren’t you? They’re both the captains and neither had been penalised for the action the ref warned about.

      Here’s the facts.

      Richie has been warned for his own repeat infringements precisely once this TN in the first Bok test. The ref warned him not to commit any more penalties in the 22. He conceded one more penalty in the match (about 40 minutes later) and it was in the other team’s half of the pitch.

      The All Blacks have received 3 team warnings.

      1 in the first Bok test for offences in the 22 – they weren’t penalised in the 22 for the remainder of the match.
      1 in the first Aus test (the one issued to both teams for preventing quick taps) – they weren’t penalised for that offence for the remainder of the match.
      1 in the second Aus test for playing the ball on the deck. They weren’t penalised for that offence for the rest of the match. They did concede two penalties for incorrect entry (one of which was an incorrect call, the other being in the 81st minute of the match).

      • Batmann

        So in summary, what you are saying is that there were final warnings given, more than 1 in one of the matches.

        • Jay

          To different people, yes. To McCaw, personally in his role as a player – no.