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Hometown Refs

Rebels3

Jim Lenehan (48)
Lots of talk today about hometown refs.

I have been caught up in the outrage before and perceived bias but then again I have always thought it’s probably my bias that is clouding the judgement. So I decided to do some research today on the stats, dating back to the start of the 2017 season.

So the research involved all Super Rugby matches that had a hometown ref in charge of the match against foreign opposition, that stats tell an interesting story

Penalty counts won

Australia - 15 wins 8 losses 3 draws
New Zealand - 16 wins 21 losses 2 draws
South Africa - 36 wins 7 losses 3 draws
Argentina - 3 wins 0 losses 0 draws

Penalty +\-

Australia - (+16)
New Zealand - (-15)
South Africa - (+159)
Argentina - (+19)

Top 10 Penalty Count differential (won)

SA +19
SA +13
NZ +12
NZ +10
AR +10
SA +9
SA +9
SA +9
SA +9


Top 5 Penalty Count differential (lost)

Aus -10
NZ -7
NZ -6
SA -6
Aus -5

On a separate note SA has only lost 2 of the last 29 penalty counts in the republic when reffed by someone from SA.

Apologies if I made a slight error anywhere. This took hours to collate and source. A Sunday well spent haha
 

Dismal Pillock

Andrew Slack (58)
Penalty +\-

Australia - (+16)
New Zealand - (-15)
South Africa - (+159)
Argentina - (+19)
giphy.gif
 

RugbyReg

Rocky Elsom (76)
Staff member
Sorry, can you talk me through this?

Penalty counts won

Australia - 15 wins 8 losses 3 draws
New Zealand - 16 wins 21 losses 2 draws
South Africa - 36 wins 7 losses 3 draws
Argentina - 3 wins 0 losses 0 draws

So you are saying, for example, there were 26 games in Australia where we played an OS team with an Aussie ref, and of those games we won the GAME (or the penalty count?) 15 times, lost 8 and drew 3?


Penalty +\-

Australia - (+16)
New Zealand - (-15)
South Africa - (+159)
Argentina - (+19)

So is that saying Australian teams, for example, had 16 more penalties their way over those 26 games?


Top 10 Penalty Count differential (won)

SA +19
SA +13
NZ +12
NZ +10
AR +10
SA +9
SA +9
SA +9
SA +9


Top 5 Penalty Count differential (lost)

Aus -10
NZ -7
NZ -6
SA -6
Aus -5

Not sure what these are? Are they individual games?
 

Rebels3

Jim Lenehan (48)
Sorry, can you talk me through this?



So you are saying, for example, there were 26 games in Australia where we played an OS team with an Aussie ref, and of those games we won the GAME (or the penalty count?) 15 times, lost 8 and drew 3?




So is that saying Australian teams, for example, had 16 more penalties their way over those 26 games?




Not sure what these are? Are they individual games?
Yeh sure

1) Just the penalty count
2) yes 16 more penalties than the opponent across the entire sample
3) yes individual games. SA teams had a game where their team won the penalty count by 19 and likewise an Aus team lost a penalty count by 10 at home. The most throughout the sample

The most worrying one for me is the fact SA sides have been better behaved 27 of their last 29 games. For such a physical country that likes to play on the edge, it makes for interesting reading.
 
B

Bobby Sands

Guest
Excellent work, forward to Raelene please. This morning broke my head.

About three or four years ago a similar thing happened to the Reds in South Africa. I can’t remember the ref but he actually got sidelined for a few weeks - which offered some (very small) solace.

That was the worst I’d seen until this morning, and it probably still is, but we must have played an hour without a penalty today. Even a cursory understanding of how opaque the laws of rugby are would make it evident that just isn’t possible unless intentional.
 

RugbyReg

Rocky Elsom (76)
Staff member
Ok, so are we saying that, on a per game basis, the home town advantage to each country is:

Australia = 0.62 (less than on extra penalty a match)
New Zealand = -0.38 (less than one extra penalty a match to the opposition)
South Africa = 3.46
Argentina = 6.33

??? Is that the right interpretation? If so then the Argentina figure is incredible. Each home game with one of their refs that can an extra 6+ penalties per match?
 

Rebels3

Jim Lenehan (48)
Ok, so are we saying that, on a per game basis, the home town advantage to each country is:

Australia = 0.62 (less than on extra penalty a match)
New Zealand = -0.38 (less than one extra penalty a match to the opposition)
South Africa = 3.46
Argentina = 6.33

??? Is that the right interpretation? If so then the Argentina figure is incredible. Each home game with one of their refs that can an extra 6+ penalties per match?
Penalty counts over the 3 Arg games are 11-7 (2018), 12-7 (2019), 13-3 (2020). Todays one was the 5th biggest margin in that time.

Argentina is a small sample. Say they lose the next count 8-5 it does bring the average down quickly

The +19 game I’m pretty sure was the Rebels at Lions where the Rebels were rolling them at half time then conceded a tone of pens in the second for a miraculous comeback for the Lions. Would of started the season 6-0
 

Forcefield

Ken Catchpole (46)
I don't think it's fair to assume a lop-sided penalty count equals bias. Don't get me wrong, I thought Anselmi's performance against the Reds was poor. Two factors that need to be considered are travel fatigue and style of play. Most teams go to Argentina in the round the world trip. With travel comes fatigue which comes pressure and poorer discipline. The same concept applies to the high veldt. In sthle of play, Australian and NZ teams go hard at the breakdown. This is likely to give more penalties than teams/countries thst don't. In addition, *let me adjust my tin foil hat* NZ teams are happy to give up penalties to prevent tries.

To me, neutral refs are a no brainer as the cost of perceived bias is far higher than the travel costs.

EDIT: I love to see World Rugby publish de-identified information on objective referee ratings following review for all these games. i.e. for those three Argie home town ref games, how did the ref manager rate the performance. That would be telling...
 

Rebels3

Jim Lenehan (48)
I actually think most penalties in some of these lopsided games are valid. It’s the incredible attention on one side and not the other that frustrates me. Today was a prime example of it. You could make an argument for most of the pens, yet there seemed to be a reduced focus on the home side. Prime example was when they grubbered a kick through with a player well and truly offside that forces oconner to run the ball dead.

There seems an intent focus on one side looking for indiscretions, due to this the opposition can get away with 50/50s. When the away team even strays close to 50/50 it’s pinged cause they are almost wanting it to happen
 

Up the Guts

Steve Williams (59)
It’s the officiating at the breakdown where the lopsided penalties come into their own. Argies today were taking out the halfback, lying all over the ball, and coming in from the side and getting away with it. In contrast, a number of times Reds players appeared to be on their feet and, without any warning from the ref for hands off the ball, were penalised.
 

Ulrich

Nev Cottrell (35)
You should collate in an excel sheet and mail it to a reputable media publication (perhaps several, one in each country) as well as SANZAAR and SARU and ask for comment.

If you do not get a response from SANZAAR or SARU then you can follow up with the media on whether they have investigated. Perhapa even try World Rugby.

EDIT: I would be happy to assist. Which source(s) did you use to tally the pen counts and ref in charge?

If this is some ploy it needs to be exposed and eradicated and if there is such a variance in interpretations from SA refs to the other counterparts then that needs to be investigated as well.
 

Ulrich

Nev Cottrell (35)
There are some things that do differ between referees. SA refs I have noticed are much more likely to call a knock-on even if it appears to go backwards. Kiwi refs tend to give the benefit more often in that scenario. That is no slight on either camp, just casual observation.
 

Strewthcobber

Mark Ella (57)
You'd probably need to have a look at neutral refs in each of this countries to see if the home team is getting more penalties regardless of where the ref is from

Should add in the other big difficulty with this sort of analysis - our sport plays advantage. So you could concede 5 penalties in a sequence, but if the opposition gets an advantage then none of them will be recorded.

Probably evens out over a big enough sample (n=? But probably >3)

Excellent stats though!
 

Mr Wobbly

Alan Cameron (40)
Penalty counts over the 3 Arg games are 11-7 (2018), 12-7 (2019), 13-3 (2020). Todays one was the 5th biggest margin in that time.

Argentina is a small sample. Say they lose the next count 8-5 it does bring the average down quickly

The +19 game I’m pretty sure was the Rebels at Lions where the Rebels were rolling them at half time then conceded a tone of pens in the second for a miraculous comeback for the Lions. Would of started the season 6-0

Yep. Lions v Rebels, Round 5. Rebels were leading 33-5 at half time before Egon Seconds, in a huge second half effort, stamped his authority on the game blowing 20 penalties to 1. Lions ended up winning 36-33.

Edit: Rebels also copped two YCs in the 2nd half ;)
 

Tangawizi

Peter Fenwicke (45)
If you get a chance (maybe next weekend) can you have a look at the Lions in insolation since 2014? I suspect that will throw up some interesting statistics.
 
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