A look at the international aspect of the Pro14

With the League Stage of the Pro14 coming to an end I thought I’d take a look at the relative performances not of individual teams but of the nations involved.

To do this I’ve combined the results of all of the teams from each nation against all of the teams from each of the other nations. “Why have you done this?” I hear you ask. Well first of all I want to take a look at the relative strengths of the professional game in each country. Secondly to take a look at the depth of ability developing behind the National teams. I know there are only two South African teams in the Pro14 so this does not give an accurate picture for them. However, I felt it useful to include them to show how they have done in their 1st season.

Ireland.

With four teams in the Pro14 there have been a total of 60 games against teams from other nations. The Irish have won 35 of them or 58%. As you can see from the table below the Irish have performed very well against Italian and South African opposition and well against the Welsh. Only the Scottish teams seem to have been able to out perform them. Overall the Irish have had a good season.

P W D L %
Ireland Italy 12 8 0 4 66.66667
Scotland 12 4 0 8 33.33333
South Africa 12 10 0 2 83.33333
Wales 24 13 2 9 54.16667

Italy.

With two teams in the Pro14 there have been a total of 36 games against teams from other nations and the Italians have won a respectable 15 of them. This gives the Italian teams a 42% win ratio. As you can see from their table the Italians have done well against the South Africans, held their own against the Welsh but struggled against both the Irish and the Scots. Overall the Italians have done quite well this season.

P W D L %
Italy Ireland 12 4 0 8 33.33333
Scotland 6 1 0 5 16.66667
South Africa 6 4 0 2 66.66667
Wales 12 6 0 6 50

Scotland.

As with Italy, there have been a total of 36 games between the Scottish teams and those of other nations in the Pro14. The Scottish teams have won 27 of these, giving them a 75% win ratio. As can be seen from the table below only the Irish teams have posed much of a problem for the Scots in this part of the season and even here the Scots have won two thirds of their games. This has been a great season for the Scottish teams.

P W D L %
Scotland Ireland 12 8 0 4 66.66667
Italy 6 5 0 1 83.33333
South Africa 6 5 0 1 83.33333
Wales 12 9 1 2 75

South Africa.

With only the two ‘weakest’ South African teams in the Pro14, little can be inferred about the state of professional rugby in South Africa. Their season has included a major shock for Leinster but also a really disappointing year for the Southern Kings. With 36 games played against teams from the other nations the South Africans have won 10 of them, or just under 28%. From the table you can see they have done best against the Welsh teams, had a hard time against the Italians and really struggled against the Irish and Scots. This has not been a good season for the South Africans. However, given the problems they have faced the Cheetahs in particular can be happy with their results.

P W D L %
South Africa Ireland 12 2 0 10 16.66667
Italy 6 2 0 4 33.33333
Scotland 6 1 0 5 16.66667
Wales 12 5 0 7 41.66667

Wales.

Finally we have the Welsh teams. As with Ireland there have been 60 games between the Welsh and teams from other nations in the Pro14. The Welsh have won 24 of these giving them a 40% win ratio. This came as the biggest surprise to me given how well the Welsh national team performed in the Six Nations. As you can see from the table the Welsh teams have matched the Italians and South Africans but have had problems against e Irish and really struggled against the Scottish teams. The Welsh will be disappointed with this season. Although the Scarlets will be happy enough.

P W D L %
Wales Ireland 24 9 2 13 37.5
Italy 12 6 0 6 50
Scotland 12 2 1 9 16.66667
South Africa 12 7 0 5 58.33333

How will the national coaches feel?

Joe Schmidt and Gregor Townsend will be pleased with the winning culture being developed in their countries. Conor O’Shea should be really pleased that the Italian teams have out performed both the Welsh and South African teams. Rassie Erasmus will be watching the Cheetahs with half an eye on the RWC quarter final. Finally Warren Gatland will be concerned that the Welsh clubs are not performing consistently.

Author: Paul Futers

Born in Dundee, Scotland to English parents. I moved around the country with my father’s work for the NHS before finally settling in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. I discovered Rugby at secondary school and played until I was involved in an accident with a collapsed scrum during a 1st XV game.
At university I was awarded half colours for my work on the Sports and Recreation Committee and as Sports Editor for the student newspaper.
My favourite pass time is watching my youngest son play for South Shields Westoe in the age grades with my father-in-law and his father.

10 COMMENTS

  1. It doesn’t help wales when dragons lose every games. Cardiff blues have actually over performed in the pro 14 this season making it into champions cup and the final of the challenge cup. However Ospreys have majorly under performed so it’s been a mixed season for the welsh regions.

    • Hi Finn, thanks for the comment. It seems odd that the Welsh clubs have under performed when the national team have done so well. Cardiff’s cup run has been great and I’ll be shouting for them on finals day but they have only won half their league games. As you say Ospreys and Dragons have both been disappointing from their own record.

      Is the Welsh team’s success based only on the Scarlet’s?

      • I think it’s really a tale of two teams doing well and two doing poorly. While their start wasn’t great Blues have lost very few since Christmas, Scarlet obviously are the champs and a top two side in their conference this year. Dragons have been as useless as ever and Ospreys have had their poorest season since the league began.

        I expect next year will look better, Ospreys did have a bit of an injury crisis at times which is why they have been hugely inconsistent, drawing with Saracens in Europe but struggling against some weaker teams. For Dragons Jackman is basically switching out nearly the entire squad with 12 signings coming in so far, including Lions in Moriarty and Hibbard, and he says he wants to make a few more.

  2. To be fair Gatland will be used to this ! In his first Grand slam year 2008 only one team in Wales was in the top half of the Pro 12 and in the 2012 Grand slam it was 2nd 5th 7th and 9th . Wales internationally are the sum of it’s parts , this has to do with 2 factors 1) until recently Gatland’s Law has not been in effect so some of the regular players not playing for their regions 2) a lack of depth at regional level at certain regions as well as a hoarding of the “best “ players at others notably the Ospreys at one point but they are not the only example.

  3. I am not convinced , Rugby in Wales is an odd thing at regional level the regions are rotten because they are controlled by benefactors so I think we need to get away from that , it’s as though The WRU saw two contrasting ways to approach professional People Rugby ( the Irish and English model) and went we like the idea of not having to directly pay our players because that’s exspensive but we also want to restrict the amount of players we can produce so that the playing standards are higher . What we ended up with is a hodge podge of both that has ignored vast swathes of the former Rugby heartlands which may cause damage for a generation of supporters.

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