Field Theory by Hadyn Green

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Field Theory: Four Years Ago

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  • David Cormack,

    Thank you for quoting me. I am filled with dread as every sport related publication in the country hauls in an ex-All Blacks who says we should win. I'm not a superstitious man, but for every person who says we will win the world cup, it increases the chances of a forward pass not being picked up by the referee or touch judge by 7%.

    Fun fact: If Australia or South Africa win the world cup they get to keep one of them. In perpetuity, by virtue of being the first nation to win it 3 times.

    Suburbia, Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 218 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Fun fact: If Australia or South Africa win the world cup they get to keep one of them. In perpetuity, by virtue of being the first nation to win it 3 times.

    A typically dumb-arse pommie rule.

    "I say old chap, where did we park that Supermarine S6?"

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2214 posts Report Reply

  • David Cormack,

    Going back and reading that thread from 4 years ago has just made me sad.

    Suburbia, Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 218 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Nimmo,

    I don't suppose it would be appropriate to link to Caritas' site about inequality in the participating countries?

    Wasn't really looking forward to the world cup a month or two ago, but I'll be watching the first game with a great bunch of international students. Should be fun!

    Wellington • Since May 2009 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    That is the problem with the internet - it is an entirely disposable medium that you treat like a piece of chewing gum, but somehow the chewing gum keeps ending up on your shoe - or worse, in your hair.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2214 posts Report Reply

  • David Cormack, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Your rant following the game is something to behold.

    Suburbia, Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 218 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    What gets me every time is that on paper we look like we should win.

    No, we don't.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Good god.....I got as far as the handling errors. France was better........Hmmmm....we haven't been that good lately at holding onto the ball......woe woe woe. Ashes...sackclothe...I had better get it out of the cupboard..... Find some new willow to thrash meself with....

    :-) :-) :-) But I will still be building a lounge grandstand with the couches for the semis and final but.

    Please stop writing Haydn.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • noizyboy,

    Chris Rattue, before that last, horrific quarterfinal loss to France...

    France pose absolutely no threat to the All Blacks

    This time...?

    Henry's World Cup scheme is full of holes

    So, I'm feeling quite optimistic.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 171 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH, in reply to 3410,

    No, we don't.

    They say:

    The quarter final match is very likely to be against Argentina or Scotland. Doesn't matter which because the probability that New Zealand wins is 0.96 in either case.

    The semi final match is likely to be against South Africa and the probability of a win is 0.58.

    The final match is likely to be against Australia and the probability of a win is 0.70.

    The probability that the All Blacks win the Rugby World Cup is the product of these three probabilities i.e. 0.96 * 0.58 * 0.70 = 0.39

    But they've used win percentages across all games. They should have used win percentages for NZ home games (and they acknowledge that later):
    Argentina/Scotland: 1.00
    SA: 0.71
    Aus: 0.75
    1 * 0.71 * 0.75 = 0.54
    Their more detailed analysis is better but they've still based it on all games rather than just home games. They argue that it's countered by the "choke" factor, but the home ground advantage for the ABs is really pronounced: against "tier 1" teams we win 81.2% at home vs 67.3% away.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    They argue that it's countered by the "choke" factor, but the home ground advantage for the ABs is really pronounced

    Sorry, but the choke factor is also really pronounced.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Roseingrave,

    Checking that Le Post article, Hadyn, I saw they picked up on something you didn't, namely: "...New Zealand dominates a key stat: balloons recovered after plating."

    If I believe a Google translation of a French paper's analysis of a post written by you, then as we train for such bizarre occurences on a rugby field, rather than boring things like scrums and tackling and such like, is it any wonder we lose? I can only hope Graham Henry has learnt something in the last four years.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2007 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    I can only hope Graham Henry has learnt something in the last four years.

    I heard him on the news the other day say that he's learned not to take it one game at a time. I still don't understand that.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Tongan chic...

    And now Tonga is making the bookies nervous.

    I'd be worried too. If I recall rightly, the Tongans have given away a lot of penalties in the past, if they can curb that habit, and capitalise on their phenomenal support (it is after all virtually a home game for them!) they could be away laughing. As you say they did well last cup, they impressively held their own against South Africa... copracetic, man!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Anyway, my point was that "favourites" ≠ "should win".

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Michael Roseingrave,

    Treppenwitz der Weltgeschichte...

    “…New Zealand dominates a key stat:
    balloons recovered after plating.”

    ...is that like the Hindenberg?
    Der Lead Zeppelin ist der stairway to Heaven!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • SteveH, in reply to 3410,

    Sorry, but the choke factor is also really pronounced.

    The choke is pretty well impossible to quantify. Which games exactly constitute a choke? Which games count as a possible choke that was avoided? And even if we can agree on that how many games does that leave us in our sample?

    The home ground advantage is based on a good sample size and it clearly statistically significant.

    Since Sep 2009 • 444 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    is that like the Hindenberg?

    I am a sausage

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19706 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    The choke is pretty well impossible to quantify.

    No, it's not. All you have to do is compare predicted World Cup performance with actual World Cup performance (and if predicted performance is too difficult to quantify, then we shouldn't be bothering with this discussion at all :)).

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    Which games exactly constitute a choke?

    choking on the cup itself rather than its contents.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB, in reply to 3410,

    No, we don’t.

    According to that article....

    1) No team is likely to win... they all have a probability of less than half.

    2) the All Blacks probability of winning, despite being lower than 50%, is still higher than double any other team.

    I would suggest that #2 makes more sense than #1, seeing as, it's impossible for no team to win the cup.

    Going by history alone, Aus and SA have two wins apiece, and yet their statistical probability of winning is radically different.

    I suggest the main conclusion to be drawn is that historical performance is obviously important, a purely mathematical reckoning is not necessarily the best approach to predicting the outcome.

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 889 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    If Argentina or Scotland beat England (possible), then we would have England in the quarters and that is more losable than the 1.00 rating Argentina and Scotland get.

    Remember, the last world cup we would never have been up against France in the quarters if not for the fact that Argentina upset France in the opening game. I bet nobody realised the ramifications of that game.

    We could well have had an easier quarter, and then clicked from there.

    On a random note. I saw some highlights of previous WCs today (was showing them in class to students) and the famous French try to knock Aussie out in 87 featured a nice knockon in the immediate leadup, and the Samoa upset of Wales in 91 saw a try awarded to Samoa when clearly the Welsh defender won the race to ground the ball. Samoa only won 16-13.

    I guess we can't lay claim to the only shithouse reffing decisions in RWC history that resulted in our team being arsed out.

    I think Aussie or NZ will win it. SA and England could well make the final though as the back end of the tournament will surely feature an upset or two. But they have the look about them of a runnerup. There's only been one upset in the final of a WC IMHO and that was in 95 but that was fairly wide open though. Most other finals have featured one of the expected finalists and one surprise (and they generally lose).

    So a NZ v OZ final will probably be a surprise.

    I have no idea what I am talking about.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Sacha,

    LS in weinerland...

    I am a sausage

    assuage salami

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    In individual games Fletcher there is always a team that is more likely to win and in the ABs cases MUCH more likely to win. So if they lose it's a 'choke' in that game, and it only takes one loss to knock you out in the back half of this tournament.

    Not that I like to use the word much as there are few GENUINE cases of choking despite the widespread use of the word.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    According to that article....

    1) No team is likely to win... they all have a probability of less than half.

    2) the All Blacks probability of winning, despite being lower than 50%, is still higher than double any other team.

    I would suggest that #2 makes more sense than #1, seeing as, it's impossible for no team to win the cup.

    #1 makes perfect sense, just as when you propose to roll a die, each number is "unlikely" to appear (only 1/6th chance), yet it is certain that one of them will.

    a purely mathematical reckoning is not necessarily the best approach to predicting the outcome.

    What's a better approach; hunches? guesswork? tea leaves?

    Just kidding. I think I get that you're saying that there are too many variables for prediction to be a very useful endeavour. I agree, but that lends more credence - not less - to the idea that it's foolish to claim that the All Blacks should win. It's a competition; anything could happen.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

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