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The Path to the Finals
The Path to the Finals
(CC: Bob Dwyer, Waratahs.)
Coming into the Super 12 this year I was wondering what the Tahs need to do to have a chance at winning a trick and beat their best effort of sixth. I then expanded on this idea to cover all teams in the comp and see if I could come up with some stats to pick exactly what a team needs to do to find their way into one of those vital four spots, and preferably the highest one of all. And since the sample size for S12 is starting to become large enough to pick a few trends, I’ll have a go.

Getting In…

The first and easiest stat. to consider is how many points it takes to get in. Well, here we go.

Here are the finalists for the S12 years and what they did to get there. I’m not bothering with the S10 or S6 years. I shan’t worry much about what happens once in the finals, except to say that the competition can be won from fourth spot, as any Crusaders fan can attest.

1996 1997 1998
1. Reds 41 1. Blues 50 1. Blues 43
2. Blues 41 2. Brumbies 41 2. Crusaders 41
3. Bulls 38 3. Hurricanes 34 3. Sharks 36
4. Natal 33 4. Natal 30 4. Highlanders 34

1999 2000 2001
1. Reds 36 1. Brumbies 45 1. Brumbies 40
2. Stormers 36 2. Crusaders 39 2. Sharks 38
3. Highlanders 35 3. Highlanders 32 3. Cats 34
4. Crusaders 33 4. Cats 32 4. Reds 32

As may be seen, it has taken anywhere from 30 to 34 points to secure fourth position in the finals, so one may assume their team was virtually guaranteed a spot when they reached 34 points. The highest that a team has scored to make fifth has been 32. Sorry Brumbies fans, you were robbed (1996).

To reach 34 points, and be all but assured of a berth, your team must do one of the following:

  • Win 9 games without bonuses (36 points).
  • Win 8 games with 2 or more bonus points (a virtual certainy if you win 8 games).
  • Win 7 games with 6 or more bonus points (still reasonable).
  • Win 6 games and secure a draw and receive 8 bonus points (this is pushing the envelope on bonus points but is possible)

    The most bonus points scored over the competition has been 10, earned by the Hurricanes in 1997. 9 points have been reached 5 times.

    The finals have been reached on less than 34 though. The least the Finals have been reached on is 30 points by Natal in 1997. This involved only 5 wins, 2 draws, 4 losses, 6 bonus points and a For and Against of –29. That’s what one calls scraping in..

    Looking at this in terms of games won. Only one team has been excluded after having won seven games. Sorry ACTorians, looks like I’m picking on your boys today. In 96, the Brumbies’ 7/0/4/4/32 was beaten by Natal’s 6/0/5/9/33 (W/D/L/BPs/Points). A big reason to cherish bonus points.

    Coming First…

    Casting back to my earlier table, the Minor Premiers have been,

    Reds 41 points 9 wins 0 draws 5 bonus pts
    Blues 50 points 10 wins 0 draws 8 bonus pts
    Blues 43 points 9 wins 0 draws 7 bonus pts
    Reds 36 points 8 wins 1 draw 2 bonus pts
    Brumbies 45 points 9 wins 0 draws 9 bonus pts
    Brumbies 40 points 8 wins 0 draws 8 bonus pts

    So, it has taken as little as 36 points and as many as 50 to be MP. A better way to judge what it can possibly take is to observe the highest-ever placed second placed team. That would be 41 points, shared by the Blues in 96, Brumbies in 97, Crusaders in 98. These teams all won eight games in the season. In order to reasonably expect to be guaranteed first spot, it would seem a team needs nine wins in the season with enough bonus points to break about 44, and in order to have a good chance, to secure 8 wins and more than 41 points.

    In summary, to get into the finals of the Super 12, your team needs to secure 34 points. The most common way of doing this is to earn 7 victories and 6 bonus points.

    In order to have a reasonable chance at coming first (Minor Premiers), they need to secure 42 points. A reasonable way of doing this would be 9 wins and 6 bonus points.

    Mind you, anyone but a ‘Tahs fan doesn’t need to know that this year. I have been reliably informed by the tea leaves that the ‘Tahs are going to pick up 11 wins, 11 bonus points and secure a measly 55 points before going in to win the semi and the final 54-0 and 44-0 respectively. Their for and against is also going to be very respectable I’m told. Still there’s always next year for the rest of you, so you’ll still need this information.

    I accept bugger all responsibility for any of the preceding S12 data. I lifted it all off the net anyway and applied my own analysis to it. If I got anything wrong, email me and I’ll try to update it. The analysis itself is guaranteed to be wrong. I also am not 100% sure about the claims of those bloody tea leaves, though I am nonetheless quietly confident of their abilities.

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    Let us know what you think!

    I can't see anything wrong with your analysis Barge, in fact it's bloody interesting, but I am sceptical that you used tea leaves to come up with your Waratahs predictions, more like a tequila worm and a few trays of Fosters!
    Supposedly this article has been viewed times since we bothered to start counting*.
    (Although it could have just been on the Reload button doing some serious ego padding!)