Rugby Union

Rugby

Rugby’s statistical record is even sparser than soccer’s, especially in the pre-professional era. I had resigned myself to just not including rugby players, but there is a bit of hope; NZ Rugby History has New Zealand stats going back to the beginning of the NPC and the French site It’s Rugby covers the professional era.

Test rugby stats are covered fairly comprehensively, and I tossed around the idea of just using Test numbers, but even great players had only 30 or 40 matches to their credit. It’s just not enough.

So, baby steps. We’ll start putting the rugby players here, as we get them, acknowledging that we’re never going to get all of them.

The second problem is that, like soccer, we’re limited to just points and games played. Even worse, most of the scoring falls to the fly-half, so there’s a real lopsidedness to how the rankings are going to come. Even spreading around credit for team scoring leaves the No. 10’s way out in front.

All players get full credit for their tries, conversions and drop goals. Penalties are split between the kicker and the team forwards. Backs get credit for team tries, forwards for all team scoring.

Defense 1 is based on team points allowed. If data is available, the backs get credit for team tries allowed.

Here’s what we have so far:

GamesTotalPer 160Sqr RootSumOffDef
Dan Carter34350.6923.657.1230.7738.149.16
Jonny Wilkinson41256.8922.097.5429.6437.536.66
Andrew Mehrtens29437.1820.236.1026.3333.297.18
Rob Andrew20324.0218.934.9023.8328.299.58
Jonah Lomu18514.8112.813.8516.6615.849.78
Christian Cullen22617.3112.254.1616.4217.317.21
Bryan Habana34424.6311.464.9616.4214.528.39
Tana Umaga32421.1510.444.6015.0414.176.72
Joost van der Westhuizen23315.6710.763.9614.7212.199.33
John Eales1329.4511.453.0714.5314.298.63
Michael Jones18812.4510.603.5314.1212.338.96