What Can We Expect From the Australian Local Derbies? - Green and Gold Rugby
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What Can We Expect From the Australian Local Derbies?

What Can We Expect From the Australian Local Derbies?

FatProp recently started a thread on the G&GR Forum titled “All These Australian Local Derbies … Better?”.  The general thrust of the comments in response was that based on Super 14 games between the Australian teams, we may see games played in a less adventurous manner than when the Australian teams are playing teams in the other conferences. Read the comments here.

I think that teams will probably start out the season looking to play positive rugby but after the first three or four weeks we might start to see the teams that have collected a good haul of points already playing a more conservative game to try and consolidate their position near the top of their conference table.  The teams that have dropped a lot of points early in the season may have to become more adventurous to try and earn bonus points to catch up.

Getting back to the main point made by FatProp and others, that in the past, local derbies have tended more often than not to be tight slogs, I decided to take a look at the statistics from the 2010 Super 14 season.

To see if the statistics reveal any differences in how open the games between the Australian teams were compared to games played against the non-Australian teams, I’ve looked at the amount of ball movement, the number of offloads, the metres gained running the ball, the number of line breaks, the number of tries scored and the percentage of points scored from tries.

The raw data comes from Verusco and shows an interesting pattern across all four of the Australian teams.  The statistics certainly support the view that the Australian teams played with less ball movement and played more cautiously when playing against other Australian teams than when playing against non-Australian teams.

Of course, statistics aren’t everything and there may be other factors involved but the numbers for each team below make for some interesting reading.

Brumbies Total Passes Offloads Metres Gained Line Breaks Tries % of Points Scored From Tries
Average Per Game Against Non-Australian Teams 199 16 1,037 11 4 57%
Average Per Game Against Australian Teams 129 9 685 6 2 51%
Overall Average Per Game 178 14 929 10 3 56%
Force Total Passes Offloads Metres Gained Line Breaks Tries % of Points Scored From Tries
Average Per Game Against Non-Australian Teams 187 15 954 9 2 49%
Average Per Game Against Australian Teams 92 4 444 3 1 29%
Overall Average Per Game 158 12 797 7 2 47%
Reds Total Passes Offloads Metres Gained Line Breaks Tries % of Points Scored From Tries
Average Per Game Against Non-Australian Teams 163 15 938 13 4 60%
Average Per Game Against Australian Teams 93 7 525 6 3 56%
Overall Average Per Game 141 13 811 11 3 59%
Waratahs Total Passes Offloads Metres Gained Line Breaks Tries % of Points Scored From Tries
Average Per Game Against Non-Australian Teams 185 15 1,011 11 5 64%
Average Per Game Against Australian Teams 114 9 517 4 1 32%
Overall Average Per Game 163 13 859 9 3 58%
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  • Bobas

    I guess its tough when you know each other’s games.

    However I think extra local derbies will work in a World Cup year. Backline players will be keen to show their attack and show up others defensively.

    Expect Palu in the QC channel.

    • The Rant

      expect everybody

    • Joe Mac

      There will be no better teacher for QC learning to tackle than people in his channel. Lets hope 9 months of intensive learning is enough

  • Refabit

    As a casual observer it certainly seemed the local derbies were tighter affairs. However the passion also seemed to go up a level. Maybe it was the Test jerseys on the line or just good old fashioned border hostilities.

  • dew-1

    More derbies, more biff!

  • RockyElboa

    I lean on the positive side here. The Tahs v Reds game last year was a slog but a great game none the less.
    Also given we are now playing home and away, I think we might see a similar situation to European football, that is teams play conservatively at home and play a more aggressive attacking game away. Basically if you are the away team and you pick up a bonus point or two then you have been successful.
    It will be interesting to see how this plays out and see what will hopefully be a clash of styles.

  • chasmac

    Good analysis Scott, definitely can conclude that the local derbys are tighter games. This should be good for Aussies in a world cup year when the main event is a knockout tournament. Even if the referees maintain their interpretations of the breakdown etc (not the scrum) from last year, the nature of the knockout tournament means more conservative rugby. North Hemisphere has long criticised S14 as hit and giggle rugby / touch football; This S15 format could be just what the Aussies need to learn how to grind. Kiwi and Springbok are more comfortable with a conservative grinding game than the Wallabies.

  • Muffy

    Interestingly, the reds were accused of playing touch rugby last year, something I did not agree with but understood what people were saying.

    However, these stats would tend to point otherwise. They would suggest that the Tahs played the better running/passing game with more meters gained and more passes…Lies, damn lies and statistics..

    I know who I would rather watch..

    • Zeedok

      I know who I’d rather watch too (might be different to you though — Go the tahs!!).

      The Reds played some fantastic Rugby last year (the game against the Force was a real standout). But they too tightened up when they really wanted to win — if memory serves, they played much tighter against the Bulls and Stormers, to win both games.

      I’m really hoping that the increase in “local derbies” means that the teams will loosen up a bit. If you are the Waratahs for example and you only have one chance to beat the Reds, you’re going to resort to a “win at all costs” mentality. But if you have two shots at them . . .

      • Squeak

        That’s the key Zeedok, two bites at them.

        Last year three out of thirteen matches were local derbies, and if you lost, you lost. Now its eight out of sixteen; half the season, and there’s another bite at every cherry. No Australian team could think it will get through the local half of the draw without a loss or two (like the Tahs did last year!)

        Now they’ll have time to think about selection.

        Beale and Hines have time to think about what Robbie’s going to be impressed by, Higginbottom will want to upstage Elsom, and Giteau, Barnes, Cooper and O’Conner are going to be trying to make an impression in a world cup year, while Cipriani has nothing to lose.

        All these guys are going to take every chance to cut loose. They’ll only batten down the hatches against the Crusaders, Bulls and Stormers. The derbies are going to be the games to watch.

  • bones

    The new format is a great innovation. It introduces real tribalism to the Aussie S15 franchises – this will seriously worry League. Local tribalism is their only advantage over Union. Points to O^Neill.

    Also home and away against the other Aussie sides should seriously flush out over-rated Wallabies, who are living on past reputations. I predict that the reputations of a number of senior Brumbies players will take a serious beating over the S15 2011, such that they risk missing the WC Squad. But not AAC, who is a champion.

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ACT Brumbies

Scott is one of our regular contributors from the old days of G&GR. He has experience coaching Premier Grade with two clubs in Brisbane.

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