A look at the stats pages, people will often take note of the points difference column (PD). This is calculated by taking the total points your team have scored , points for (PF), and subtracting the total amount of points scored against your team, points against (PA). PD=PF-PA. Similarly we can calculate the try difference (TD). TD=TF-TA.
Of the four teams involved in the semi-finals of the RWC 2015 New Zealand had the largest TD for the tournament with 30. Australia had the second highest TD with 21. These of course are the two teams that are going to contest the final.
If you met someone who knew nothing about rugby and you had to explain to them what the point of rugby is, how would you explain it to them in the simplest way? I would say to them, your team wants to score as many tries as possible and prevent their opponents from scoring any tries.
So let’s look at it from this simple explanation. New Zealand have scored 34 tries so far in the 2015 RWC, that is more than any of the other semi-finalists. Who scored the least amount of tries out of the four semi-finalists? South Africa with 24 tries.
New Zealand have had the least amount of tries scored against them in the tournament with a measly 4 tries. Who had the most tries scored against them out of the four semi-finalists? Argentina had the most with 13 tries being scored against them.
We love arguing about, if they kicked too much, if they missed tackles, if they should have played more territory, gameplan, modern gameplan, Domkrag rugby, pride, respect, experience, sidestep, angles of running , offload, gainline, set-piece, turnovers, referees, dropkicks, decision making…..blah blah blah.
From the table below, we can deduce, South Africa need to score more tries and Argentina need to stop tries being scored against them. New Zealand are getting it right while the Aussies are next best.
. TF TA TD
New Zealand 34 4 30
Australia 26 5 21
South Africa 24 7 17
Argentina 26 13 13
I feel Scotland will beat Samoa. Scotland have a quarter-final spot within their grasp and I think this will give them that extra bit of incentive to go for the win. I think it will be close because Samoa will not be happy with their RWC having only won one pool game out of three so far. This is their last game and Samoa will want to restore some pride. If Samoa do win it will make it very interesting for Japan because if Scotland lose and Japan beat the U.S.A then Japan will make it through to the knockout stages for the first time.
One of the big ones of the weekend is Wales vs Australia. Australia have been playing well and apart from Michael Hooper and maybe Will Skelton the team has not be disrupted by injuries anywhere near as badly as Wales have experienced.
The 2015 RWC has been really good for spectators and fans of rugby so far as we reach the halfway point of the pool games. Past World Cups have had a type of feeling surrounding them. Like the 1995 RWC where the dreams of a fledgling New South Africa were realised or in the 2011 RWC where after so many disappointments there was the constant question were the All Blacks going to win it or not? This RWC seems to be one of positive rugby will make you a winner.
It all started with that historic victory for Japan over South Africa. Other matches have given us unexpected results. Georgia getting the better of Tonga, Namibia scoring a really good try against the All Blacks, Canada very nearly beating Italy, The U.S.A going into half-time ahead against Scotland. Maybe less unexpected, but probably just as dramatic as any of the aforementioned games, the injury hit Welsh’s come from behind stunning win against England.
Watching the hard fought match between New Zealand and Argentina at Wembley stadium in the 2015 RWC, I noticed that both these excellent teams avoid going to ground and only allow the ball to go to ground very reluctantly.
The way that these teams go about this differs and so does the purpose of each method but both are positive for attacking rugby.
To say New Zealand like a fast paced game is an understatement. They want the game to be quick. They are fit and skillfull and look to outplay a defence with the use of the offload. Late in the second half of the Japan v Scotland game the commentator said that there had been a total of 12 offloads in that match up until that point compared to 11 off-loads by Sonny Bill Williams in his 35 minutes he was on the field during the All Blacks v Argentina.