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Apr 17 13 6:56 PM

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It doesn't seem to be a confirmed list right now, but I've noticed that for the shortlist of stadiums to host the tournament, only 3 out of 18 are rugby-specific. It was obvious that there would be several football stadiums on the list due to their quality, but I would have assumed there would be more of an effort to use traditional rugby venues. Not that it matters too much, though, the owners of the football stadiums will easily be able to work their schedules around the rugby world cup, even if the headlines have probably already been written about 'Premier League stadium crisis' or something...
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#2 [url]

Jul 10 14 9:14 PM

Update on this tournament: 19 of the 20 finalists have been decided, Kenya were on the verge of their first-ever appearance at the finals this week but contrived to lose out on points difference for not only on 'Africa 1' qualification, but also the 'Repechage' play-off for 2nd Place... the 4 teams going for that inter-continental final spot are Russia, Zimbabwe, Uruguay, and Hong Kong, only the latter can become debutants.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Africa_Cup#Division_1A

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#3 [url]

Sep 19 15 7:46 PM

Tournament started yesterday, and today had an incredible game - Japan beat South Africa 34-32 with a last-minute try. Impressive feat anyway, although the commentators were calling it the biggest upset in the history of the sport, let alone the World Cup. Accurate or hyperbole?

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#4 [url]

Sep 19 15 9:54 PM

I don't know enough about the past upsets in rugby, but it seems like New Zealand and South Africa hardly ever lose to anybody other than each other or occasionally England/France. Even the other "big" countries (Scotland, Ireland, Argentina, Italy) hardly ever get a win over them. So for Japan to do it is unthinkable.

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#5 [url]

Sep 20 15 9:41 AM

I found the South Africa overall records here, which makes clear how extraordinary Japanese win over South Africa must have been. Probably comperative with USA's win over England in 1950 or if El Salvador will beat Brazil at the World Cup.

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#6 [url]

Sep 21 15 9:48 AM

It is quite difficult to compare with football because the point scoring is more frequent in rugby.
In football, most minnow upsets are 1-0 with scoring one shock goal and defending for 90 minutes. In rugby a minnow would have to score at least 4 or 5 times to win a game.

It might be an interesting exercise (for a bored nerd) to find a correlation between margins of victory in different sports.

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#7 [url]

Sep 21 15 10:39 AM

Another thing what makes it difficult to compare is in football we are not surprised at all if any top 10 team (according to elo ratings) will lose against teams ranked between #20-40. I guess in rugby it is hardly impossible a team ranked #1-5 will lose against any team ranked #10 or lower.

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#8 [url]

Sep 21 15 4:33 PM

The nfm24 rugby rankings*

Category A
 1. New Zealand
 2. South Africa
Category B
 3. England
 4. Australia
 5. France
 6. Ireland
 7. Wales
Category C
 8. Argentina
 9. Scotland
10. Italy
11. Fiji
Category D
12. Samoa
13. Japan
14. Georgia
15. Tonga
16. USA
17. Canada
18. Romania
Category E
everyone else who plays rugby

* rankings independent of actual results, but instead based on objective fudging so that it looks roughly correct to someone who hasn't properly studied the results at all


Teams should beat all teams from lower categories, and, on a good day, could possibly beat a team from the next category above (but not higher) but will normally lose.

What Japan did was impossible.

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#9 [url]

Sep 21 15 7:52 PM

Would be about how I think of the World Cup teams as well, that shock aside it's pretty reflective of the power balance in the sport, I actually have a ticket to an A vs. E match on Thursday, so you're saying there's more chance of me seeing a record score at my first rugby game than an E win then? smiley: wink


Japan's result was incredible, and like you said football isn't an easy comparison because of the nature of each sport (which is why I can never see a football game producing the 'biggest sports upset ever', other sports require much more prolonged dominance for an upset to be possible).

I've seen a couple of more decent comparisons to Japan since the weekend, like if an NFL champion were to get beat by a high-ranking college team (letting such teams meet would be of equal shock), or ice hockey's "Miracle on Ice" in 1980, or a modern ice hockey hypothetical of Great Britain beating Canada (that one I could manage if you gave me a copy of the NHL game on easy mode)...

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TheRoonBa

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#10 [url]

Sep 21 15 8:20 PM

nfm24 wrote:
It might be an interesting exercise (for a bored nerd) to find a correlation between margins of victory in different sports.

That's essentially what I did when I had my rankings operational - I had to calibrate the margins of victory before applying the modified Elo formula.

I'll drag up my old rankings from 2012 to re-illustrate what Neil has already illustrated without trying, with the addition of a few figures for fun (well, to illustrate the sharp divides within the Top 20 between football and rugby union).

FOOTRUG.png

As we can see, the difference between 3 and 14 (South Africa and Japan in rugby) is 639 Elo points.
The difference between 3 and 14 in football (Brazil and Italy) is a mere 128 Elo points.

If we go down 639 Elo points below Brazil in football, we would arrive at Bermuda.  Bermuda beating Brazil would certainly be a shock.

The difference between 1st and 5th in rugby is roughly the same as between 1st and 20th in football.

The other example given by ice hockey - Great Britain beating Canada would not be such a big shock - 417 Elo points only.  An equivalent shock in ice hockey would be Estonia beating Canada.

In other sports, equivalent shocks to Japan beating South Africa at rugby would be:

CRICKET: Scotland beating India
BASKETBALL: Bulgaria beating USA
FIELD HOCKEY: Poland beating Australia
WOMEN'S FOOTBALL: Austria beating USA
WATER POLO: Brazil beating Serbia
HANDBALL: Saudi Arabia beating Spain
CURLING: Russia beating Canada
FUTSAL: Lithuania beating Brazil
BEACH SOCCER: Latvia beating Russia
FLOORBALL: Estonia beating Sweden
BANDY: Norway beating Russia


Kenya beating West Indies at the 1996 Cricket World Cup was of  similar shockingness to Japan beating South Africa, except the margin of victory was even greater (73 runs - probably the equivalent of Japan beating South Africa at rugby by 15 or 20 points).

If we look further down the FOOTBALL rankings,  San Marino beating Russia or Sweden would also be a shock of similar magnitude, or Afghanistan beating Scotland.

Nerdington!

(PS - Neil's objective fudging turned out to have the same effect in establishing exactly the same Top 18 in rugby, and showing the big gap between those and everyone else.)

Last Edited By: TheRoonBa Sep 21 15 9:31 PM. Edited 4 times.

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#11 [url]

Sep 22 15 8:42 PM

TheRoonBa wrote:
(PS - Neil's objective fudging turned out to have the same effect in establishing exactly the same Top 18 in rugby, and showing the big gap between those and everyone else.)

I also took into account that the World Cup is being held (mostly) in England, so nudged them up a place or two.

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TheRoonBa

Posts: 5,423 Site Admin

#12 [url]

Sep 23 15 8:41 AM

nfm24 wrote:
TheRoonBa wrote:
(PS - Neil's objective fudging turned out to have the same effect in establishing exactly the same Top 18 in rugby, and showing the big gap between those and everyone else.)

I also took into account that the World Cup is being held (mostly) in England, so nudged them up a place or two.
Fudging and nudging appears to be a good combination.

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#13 [url]

Sep 23 15 6:51 PM

Rankings are much easier if you ignore the actual results and just move teams wherever you want.
I don't understand why FIFA don't adopt this policy. Fudging and nudging is their specialty, in financial matters at least.

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#14 [url]

Sep 26 15 2:09 PM

So the game I went to see the other day... I went in expecting a triple-digit score thanks to your rankings, how dare you mislead me like that! Or should I be blaming the many mistakes the All Blacks made?


I guess it was mainly down to New Zealand putting out a B team (don't know enough about the squad to know for sure but benching the team captain (and only player on their team I'd heard of) is a pretty good sign) and/or not feeling the need to go up a gear (if they put in the same performance I'm sure a 'C team' in those rankings could have taken them), and also that their kicker was terrible, but it was a great performance from Namibia to keep the score to 58-14, place went up when they scored a try. All things considered, how does this game rank in the upset-o-meter?

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#17 [url]

Sep 28 15 9:19 AM

Am I right in saying that rugby is probably the only team sport where Oceania is one of the most competitive continents? Australia and New Zealand are among the best teams in the world, while Samoa, Fiji and Tonga are three respectable outsiders.
I don't remind of other team sports where Oceania is so well represented. In cricket perhaps?

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#19 [url]

Sep 28 15 10:35 AM

Cricket certainly, and rugby league also. Netball and hockey are also good sports for Australia at least.  Basically all the sports of the British Empire educational system.

If only we knew someone who knew all about relative strengths of international teams in a myriad of team sports.


Last Edited By: nfm24 Sep 28 15 10:38 AM. Edited 1 time.

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#20 [url]

Sep 28 15 10:42 AM

Over the past 35 years Australia has World's best hockey team. New Zealand sometimes can surprise. They are the 1976 Olympic chamions. The last time they beat Netherlands (together with Australiä and Germany the strongest teams of the past 35 years) was in 2010. Please take notice outside World's top 8 countries hardly anyone beat these teams.

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