I had a longer look at the Premiership table this week and few interesting things jumped out, so here are some thoughts on the Premiership table.
Perhaps I should wait a week before writing this, if my predictions are correct Exeter will be topping the table and that would be amazing. OK it would be on points difference but even so I don’t think anyone was predicting that at the beginning of the season.
So without looking who are the top points scorers in the league?
It’s Exeter with 225 points, as you would expect it’s one of the teams at the top of the table and one that has built a reputation for running rugby.
So Exeter have scored the most tries?
Nope, that is Wasps who are in fifth place with 27 tries. Exeter are “only” third equal in tries scored with 24.
So Wasps have the most TBPs?
Nope again that’s Northampton with 4 TBPs. Surprisingly Wasps are third equal in this list with “only” 2 TBPs. Even more surprisingly considering their early season struggles, Sale with 3 TBPs are second in this list.
I thought the lack of correlation between points scored, tries scored and TBPs was interesting. At the end of the day points scored is not a very good indication of table position either:
Position Team Points For 2 Exeter Chiefs 225 5 Wasps 220 3 Bath Rugby 217 1 Northampton Saints 215 4 Saracens 209 7 Sale Sharks 183 8 Gloucester Rugby 177 6 Harlequins 149 9 Leicester Tigers 138 10 London Irish 133 11 Newcastle Falcons 129 12 London Welsh 54
Well it does get it right towards the bottom but it’s all messed up at the top. Points against turns out to be a much better prediction of position:
Position Team Points Against 1 Northampton Saints 106 2 Exeter Chiefs 130 3 Bath Rugby 131 4 Saracens 142 5 Wasps 148 6 Harlequins 150 9 Leicester Tigers 174 7 Sale Sharks 176 11 Newcastle Falcons 176 8 Gloucester Rugby 181 10 London Irish 192 12 London Welsh 343
This is really disappointing for those of us that want to see a free-flowing rugby spectacle. Looking at these stats if you were a director of rugby you would be weighting your training time to defence not attack. Thankfully stats can be made to back up just about any argument and these are obviously very simple numbers. To give you an example Gatland said that Wales hadn’t done any tackling practice in the run up to the November Internationals, so clearly his stats tell him to concentrate elsewhere.
So are there any teams that jump out when sorted like this?
As a Chiefs fan I’m not surprised by Exeter’s position but I think that it will probably be a surprise to many folks. It takes a long to build up a reputation and there are still too many commentators not doing their home work and still categorising Exeter as a team of hardworking individuals scrapping it out and performing better than their parts. Unfortunately for many that’s their main source of “expert” opinion.
Seeing Wasps higher than their position on points for isn’t a surprise. Obviously they have been helped by their recent performance against Welsh, where they score more than anyone else has managed so far this season. But they are also famous for their try scoring wingers, which is far too simplistic of their play, however over the last couple of seasons they have been prominent at the top of the individual try scoring charts.
Quins being lower in the points for than their position is a surprise with their reputation for offloading free flowing rugby. But they have had a tough start to the season and have not been playing to their potential.
Also Saints being so much lower on the points for than their position, especially with all the press around how North is scoring so many points. Their image in the press has moved to be talking about their fast powerful backs but it’s still defence that’s winning them games.
There isn’t much from the points against that jumps out as it is so close to the positions. The only team that may do is Newcastle who are proving that they are much harder to beat this season, even if they are not racking up many wins.
Who are the only two teams not to have made it into double figures for tries scored?
Obviously Welsh but Leicester is much more of a surprise with only 9.
Who are the only team without a TBP?
Not Welsh as you would imagine, it’s amazing that with only 7 tries they have a TBP from their away game at Bath. It’s Falcons with 16 tires they are eight equal in the scoring charts but they have not manage to get 4 or more in one game.
So there you go, some interesting thoughts from the Aviva Premiership table after seven rounds.