Hard News by Russell Brown

Three phases or fewer

Let's be geeky about something else for a change: the IRB's Tri-Nations 2005 Statistical Review and Match Analysis is online (PDF) and it's fascinating. Foremost among its findings: 100% of tries scored in this year's Tri-Nations games were preceded by three or fewer rucks or mauls. That's huge.

The analysis, of course, makes easier reading than last year's because New Zealand won the tournament. It says the All Blacks scored a try for every five minutes in possession, and were notable among the three teams for the fact that they scored tries from all facets of play - set piece possession, opponents' errors, opponents' kicks, tap penalties – and from all parts of the pitch.

The commentary further observes:

The possession source of tries fluctuates from year to year. This year’s change was quite dramatic. Eleven of the 26 tries came from opponent errors and much fewer from set piece possession. Last year 62% of tries came from set piece possession – this year was just 38%, with only two tries out of 26 coming from scrum possession.

Also, the number of penalties awarded continues to fall, but just over 40% of penalties continue to relate to "ground offences at ruck and tackle." There's heaps more in there. Well worth a read.

Meanwhile: I have just heard Greg Fleming from the Maxim Institute being interviewed on Nine to Noon, dismissing Chris Banks as "an activist with an agenda" (pardon!?) - and repeating an allegation that Paul Litterick, who exposed Bruce Logan's serial plagiarism, is guilty of similar acts of plagiarism himself.

Fleming offered no evidence that this is the case (it's based on the claim of one notably eccentric blogger with respect to one report that Paul actually cited as a source in something he wrote). Paul is considering going to the lawyers over this, and I think he at least deserves a right of reply on the radio.

HEY! I've just noticed that the new Radio New Zealand site is up today - I've had preview access for a week or so and I'm very impressed with the volume of programming now being put online. So you can actually listen to the Chris Banks and Greg Fleming interviews and a further interview with Paul Morris on the meaning of Maxim. (I've found the WMA streams slow to connect on the Mac, but you can change format to MP3, which is connecting instantly for me.)

Dubber, naturally, is first with a critique.

To continue: being caught accidentally using the words of others is a modern peril. But Logan's acts went further than that. And they weren't committed in a blog, but in essays presented as original and serious work for publication. You make certain guarantees when you give copy to an editor and Logan repeatedly flouted those guarantees.

My bFM interview from yesterday with Paul Litterick is now online here. And you can also listen to my interview with Computerworld editor Paul Brislen on recent developments in the broadband Internet sector, which the radio listeners seemed to find pretty useful.

Speaking of dealing with wealthy and unpleasant religious organisations, the Church of Scientology is still trying to intimidate critics - in this week's case, the New Zealander who is running ScienTOMogy, a website devoted to "exposing Tom Cruise's moronic behaviour in his relentless crusade to promote the cult church of Scientology."

NZBC has Andrea Malcolm's report on scrutineering for Labour in Mt Roskill.

No Right Turn discusses the news of a Doctor Who spin-off featuring Captain Jack. Is he gay? Or just a 51st century flirt?