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Saturday, February 04, 2006


Super 14: Home match = 12 point start.

The British Journal of Sports Sciences has found that in the Super 12, kicking off in front of your home crowd equated to a 12 point start on the scoreboard.

The Stormers were found to be one of the two teams with a negative home record.

In what may come as a massive surprise to most, the Cats with finishes of fourth, third, 11th, 12th, 12th and 11th had the greatest home advantage!

The study by Associate Professor Hugh Morton from Massey University's Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health found Super 12 rugby teams with a home advantage more often than not won their games.

Dr Morton analysed the records of 414 games in the Super 12 between the 2000 and 2005 seasons. He discovered that 259 games were won by sides playing at home, seven drawn and 148 by the visiting team. He then calculated the difference between the average number of points scored in games played at home and the average number scored in away games to give a score that indicated each team's relative home advantage.

Former All Black midfield back Bernie McCahill, who played for Auckland in the late 1980s, says a home game has always been an advantage.

"The home crowd advantage in the early days must have been bigger than we noticed."

He said those were the days of "the marchers" where home crowds used to walk from one end of the field to the other.

The latest rugby research would be refreshing reading for Auckland's Blues until they looked harder at the data. They and the Stormers are the only teams with negative home records.

Dr Morton's study found the Cats and then the Brumbies had the greatest home advantage.

The research says the Blues and Stormers are least favoured at home, but it may be simply, in the Blues case, that they perform nearly as well offshore as at home.

The statistics will interest those who have regular rugby betting splurges.

"These figures can be used as a means of forecasting," Dr Morton concurred. If you know what the home advantage is and what the two teams' points ratings are, you can do the arithmetic and forecast what you might expect the result to be.

"Of course, you can't always guarantee it's going to be right," he added.

* The New Zealand Herald's chief rugby writer, Wynne Gray, says he is sceptical.

"At first glance, and without trawling through more than 400 matches as Dr Morton did, I have some doubts about the value of his analysis.

"But as the learned academic also noted, the perception of home advantage, even among sports commentators, is not always accurate."

Gray said the research would have been more effective if the results of all 10 years of the Super 12 competition had been analysed rather than just the last six years.

"Trends can appear in results at home or offshore but to try to then narrow that down further into points differential seems a trifle dubious.

"Some years there is an emphasis on defence and tries are hard to come by while in other seasons there has been a focus on all-out attack."

Gray also queried whether Dr Morton's study allowed for factors such as diverse weather conditions, injuries, suspensions or where sides were in the competition when they played at home or offshore.

"The Cats may rank highest in Dr Morton's scale of home advantage, but they scarcely trouble the scorers offshore so any home points must help.

"All very strange, especially when the Cats, in the six years of Dr Morton's study, finished fourth, third, 11th, 12th, 12th and 11th."
and we thought the bulls cant travel........  

We don't have to think that, that is a fact. :-)))
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