Richie Mo’unga’s stats show he doesn’t have much of an advantage


A few seasons ago I exchanged messages on these forums with our pundit and Dean Brett McKay about the need for rugby media to not only entertain but also educate.

Our game is far too complicated for its own good and provides its own barrier to new entrants, which the rival sport of rugby league has on us in spades.

To capture the new fan, we don’t really have the fan-boy commentary we see when the Brumbies or the Blues play at home, and we all know who the culprits are for those, but in 80 minutes, l Opportunity is here to improve the knowledge of current fans and make things like scrums, mauls and why dropped passes are generally a bad thing just a bit clearer.

One of the reasons I love writing here on the roar is that people live up to their expert designations, good observations, clearly defined, well defended with examples and figures and well explained on the whole, while local biases are acknowledged and evident.

I understand the reasons for the networks, and they are the people who pay most of the revenue from the product after all, for wanting things to be exciting (even if they aren’t) and for commentators to create heroes and hype major parts.

But surely there’s a duty to the existing audience to get it right, to be accurate, to have done their homework, and to improve the show for informed, long-term support. After all, we’re the people who pay for the merchandise, drive or travel miles to keep up with our teams (and take that commitment internationally), and, of course, we’re the people who pay for the TV subscriptions who do it all. possible in the first place.

This week I heard a series of claims from an individual accepted as one of New Zealand’s leading rugby commentators – I don’t see the point in naming the individual, but he is in every living room of rugby supporter (or living room, depending on where you live) – this was so far from what most people’s eyes will tell them that I wonder if there is a performance review or a challenge process, or let we broadcasters simply gossip about their views, unembarrassed by accuracy?

This example is particularly timely, because in my last article on Scott Robertson and Leon MacDonald’s various game plans against the Brumbies, I noted that some Opta stats on Richie Mo’unga’s running numbers had been released. on Twitter and that they were of such a degree that they were worth developing in a separate article before the final series.

The occasion is so timely that they are a fine example of our leading commentators’ need for precision.
On The breakdown this week, said protagonist made two observations.

The first was that Mo’unga lost his running game, and the second that his distribution was poor, sitting in the pocket and supported before going very sideways. No matter who your favorite All Blacks 10 shirt player is later this year, you have to step out on a very long branch to come to those conclusions.

A review of the current game’s claim just doesn’t match the numbers published by Mo’unga, and I said that was a big deal and deserved further investigation.

Opta stats showed Mo’unga was No. 4 in tackle busts for the season so far; add in Super Rugby stats which currently put him fifth in defenders beaten and eighth in total offloads.

Note in the tackle busts that what our eyes tell us is true and Moana Pasifika’s Timoci Tavatavanawai leads the table.

Now back to the aptness of those who entertain us and inform us about our great sport.

It’s fair to say that I think the raw numbers tell the story of a player having a great season with the ball in hand.

But the key factor for me is that in each of those categories, which are usually dominated by wings and full-backs, Mo’unga is the top five-eighth of the entire competition represented on one of those top ten.

(Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

The only No. 10 – if he’s having a bad season with his running game, then that’s not a good look for anyone else. Conclusive and indisputable, I think.

The claim that his distribution game is also below standard also soon crumbles.

A quick glance at the list of top try scorers shows Leicester Fainga’anuku leading with ten, and Sevu Reece and Will Jordan tied for second with eight each. Either Bryn Hall has developed one hell of a pass since last season or the Crusaders inside backs are doing a really good job of distributing the ball at full-back and to the wingers.

Just for the final nail in the coffin of our comment man’s claims, rugbypass.com has Richie Mo’unga’s assists since the start of the year at 20!

Some would say that the state of being wrong is an absolute, but there are clearly varying degrees of error. It is wrong, for example, to describe a tomato as a vegetable, but it is even more wrong to describe it as a battleship.

The statements made above are firmly in the “tomato is a battleship” category.

We are the paying audience, the support core of the TV networks – we should get better, more accurate and better sightings.

A final observation.

Our game is changing rapidly, changes in law and tactics can seriously deliver a game that is vastly different, almost year on year, so why do we persist in bringing out guys who have played a game so different from the fare? today that it is almost irrelevant?

One of the reasons I appreciate comments from Ruby Tui and Honey Hireme when solicited is the recency of their playing careers.

Maybe it’s time to update the guys side of the commentary desk with some players who played the game when there was no lace in the ball.




Sports Grp2

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