What’s going on at the breakdown?
Last week I published an analysis of infringements at the breakdown in the Tri Nations match between the All Blacks and Springboks to determine how strictly the referees are adjudicating the breakdown. See it here.
I said last week … ‘The purpose of this exercise is not to target any particular team or any particular player.’ However, many of our Kiwi friends (and some who weren’t so friendly) didn’t believe that an Australian could prepare an analysis that wasn’t alleging cheating on the part the All Blacks, and in particular Richie McCaw.
The most common question posed was ‘Why don’t you do the same analysis of a Wallabies game to see what they’re doing?’ I said I would, and here it is — Part 2 of my analysis. Next week I’ll complete the analysis with Part 3 — Springboks v. Wallabies. That will mean I’ve analysed two games for each team in the Tri-Nations.
I’ve prepared the analysis the same way I did last week: I reviewed all 180 breakdowns from the game — 83 where the ball was taken in by the All Blacks and 97 where it was taken in by the Wallabies — to identify infringements at the breakdown that should have been penalised if the Laws were applied, whether they were or not.
In my review I found 55 infringements at the breakdown by both teams, compared to the 10 breakdown penalties awarded by Craig Joubert (that’s 18 per cent of infringements).There were plenty of other incidents that could also have warranted penalties but I decided not to include them as they had little impact or the indiscretions were quite minor.
Interestingly the breakdown penalties last week numbered 11 from 57 infringements (19%), so it’s a fairly consistent situation.
As I said last week: ‘As a rugby fan I wouldn’t want to see 57 penalties at the breakdown in any match as it would ruin the game, but there’s no doubt in my mind that the referees are missing far too much.’ My view hasn’t changed but I would like to see the breakdowns cleaned up. If that means the referee has to make it clear to the captains before the game that he won’t tolerate this level of infringements, and then back it up with additional penalties early in the game to get the message across, so be it. I believe it would lead to a better game.
Of the 55 infringements I recorded this week 28 were by the All Blacks and 27 by the Wallabies.
For the Wallabies Rob Simmons was the main culprit, committing 10 infringements and conceding 0 penalties; David Pocock was the next biggest offender, infringing 3 times and conceding 3 penalties. Ben Alexander also had 3 infringements but conceded 0 penalties.
For the All Blacks the main culprit was Brad Thorn with 6 infringements and 0 penalties. Richie McCaw, Kieran Read and Owen Franks all infringed 5 times and conceded 1 penalty each.
Before I move on to the video, following is a breakdown of the offences I’ve found in the first two games I’ve analysed. Obviously the numbers include two games for the All Blacks and only one each at this stage for the Wallabies and Springboks, so the totals are less significant than the percentages. In next week’s analysis the totals will be relevant.
|Team Infringements When Defending||16||6||4||26|
|Total Defensive Breakdowns||168||80||83||331|
|Infringements as a % of Breakdowns||10%||8%||5%||8%|
|Penalties Actually Awarded Against Team Infringing||6||2||2||10|
|Penalties as a % of Infringements in Defence||38%||33%||50%||38%|
All teams are infringing, with the All Blacks infringing at the most breakdowns (10%) and the Wallabies at the least (5%). The Wallabies are being penalised for the highest percentage of infringements (50%) while the Springboks have the lowest percentage of penalties against infringements (33%).
|Team Infringements When Attacking||46||17||23||86|
|Total Attacking Breakdowns||163||71||97||331|
|Infringements as a % of Breakdowns||28%||24%||24%||26%|
|Penalties Actually Awarded Against Team Infringing||3||4||4||11|
|Penalties as a % of Infringements in Attack||7%||24%||17%||13%|
Again, all teams are infringing, with the All Blacks infringing at the most breakdowns (28%) and the Wallabies and Springboks at 24%. The Springboks are being penalised for the highest percentage of infringements (24%) while the All Blacks have the lowest percentage of penalties against infringements (7%).
Only 8 per cent of total infringements by the attacking team and 26 per cent of total infringements by the defending team are being penalised, so the attacking team is clearly being favoured. I have no issue with the emphasis towards the attacking team but there are just far too many infringements that the referees are not acting on.
Come back next week if you’re interested to see how the analysis finishes with the inclusion of this weekend’s game between the Wallabies and Springboks.
[youtube width=”600″ height=”450″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDOdVedo-eg[/youtube]