Sunday, April 12, 2015

Losing the art of winning

Update 7pm Sunday - Just performed the unpleasant task (for Leinster fans anyway) of updating the stats & table after the Dragons result.  Writeup to follow tomorrow.

*****

With Glasgow, Munster, Ulster and Ospreys all earning bonus-point victories this weekend before we even get to tie up our bootlaces, it seems a top four finish could be beyond Leinster's reach.

Of course never say never and all that, and until it's mathematically impossible we can always have hope, but with the top four having next weekend off and just a 5-day turnaround for Leinster before our trip to Belfast, I reckon I'm being realistic more than pessimistic in saying our goose looks all but cooked.

So I crunched a few numbers this morning, targeting the matches this season in which we have failed to win to see if there's a pattern.

Looking at stats whereby a rugby team loses from a winning position can be, pardon the pun, misleading.  Take last night's match in Murrayfield, for example.  Edinburgh took the lead early, and deservedly so I might add as they looked good with the ball in their first few possessions.  But it was also their last score of the night as Munster responded with five tries in a 34-3 triumph.

That doesn't apply to Leinster's campaign, however.  With the exception of, ironically, our two matches against Munster, whenever we haven't won this season, we have held the lead at some stage in the second half.

When you exclude those two derby matches in which we were pretty much dominated throughout, on average we have managed to snatch draws and defeats from the jaws of victory from as late as the 64th minute, and overall, this has cost us a whopping 26 points on the Pro12 table this season.  With even half of those, we could well be on the brink of a home semifinal now let alone the playoffs.

Strangely in the matches we HAVE won in the Pro12 this season, they have tended to be comfortable, with 5 of the 9 coming with at least 4 tries and only once have we allowed our opponents a losing bonus.  However...when it comes to Europe we see a different story - if our triumphs over both Quins and Bath at the Aviva had gone for an extra 5 minutes they could be on the chart below as well. 

This is not a post designed to lay the blame at anyone's door in particular within the Leinster Rugby organisation.  No doubt there are many who will do just that, and to be fair the frustration is understandable, but we'll leave that debate for tweets & comments in reply.

Just see us as the messengers here and please don't shoot!  Following any sports team has its ups and downs and here at HoR Manor we certainly aren't going to ignore the downs.

Here's hoping for a change to  this pattern v Toulon.  #COYBIB JLP

DateOpp/venueHad lead until minute...ResultPro12 pts lost
06/09/2014Glasgow a80L 20-223
19/09/2014Connacht a55L 9-103
04/10/2014Munster h16L 23-344
23/11/2014Treviso a72D 24-242
07/12/2014Harlequins a53L 24-180
26/12/2014Munster a0L 13-280
24/01/2015Wasps a70D 20-200
15/02/2015Dragons h69L 14-163
27/02/2015Ospreys a42D 9-92
07/03/2015Scarlets a51L 13-234
27/03/2015Glasgow h74D 34-342
12/04/2015Dragons a72L 22-253
AVERAGE >55TOTAL >26
AVERAGE NOT INCLUDING MUNSTER >64

source for stats - ESPN.com

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