Semi but no Bokke in the Opta Team of the WC

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Nov 05, 2019, 01:46

.......'there were no Springboks in the Opta team of the tournament, with Japan's South Africa-born back-row Pieter Labuschagne in at number seven ahead of Du Toit.

There were four New Zealand players and as many from the host nation Japan in the Opta XV.

Players had to have been on the field for at least 320 minutes, or 240 for props, to be eligible for selection, with tries, carries, metres carried, offloads, turnovers assists and tackle success contributing to earn points.

New Zealand playmaker Beauden Barrett, twice named the best player in the world, claimed the most points in the competition.


Opta's Rugby World Cup team of the tournament: Beauden Barrett (New Zealand), Kotaro Matsushima (Japan), Manu Tuilagi (England), Anton Lienert-Brown (New Zealand), Semi Radradra (Fiji), Richie Mo'unga (New Zealand), Gareth Davies (Wales); Joe Moody (New Zealand), Shota Horie (Japan), Kyle Sinckler (England), Maro Itoje (England), Kane Le'aupepe (Samoa), Chris Vui (Samoa), Pieter Labuschagne (Japan), Kazuki Himeno (Japan).'


Remarkable, Opta the most advanced rating model picks no Boks and some familiar names like Moody re-appear. Also Pieter Labuschagne. This creates a dilemna for some who have been touting they pick Worlds Best...hahahha.... Pieter Steff du Toit or  Scientifically chosen  Liggies.

.......more seriously Opta is a model like the Climate models, statistically parameterized and constructed with the best rugby theories. After that the model is unbiased, it just churns out the resultant rankings....which vary radically from the politically correct musings of the mentally challenged rugby  media.

What are we to make of all this? All will be revealed.

Nov 05, 2019, 02:02

I've said it once, and I'll say it again, this was about the team having more value than the sum of its parts. Fortunately, we needed one big game after the All Black loss, and England were a favourable match-up. There weren't many standout individuals. The fact that the Boks are a very scripted team doesn't leave much room for individualism. Every phase and setup is heavily structured, no surprise then that we looked significantly more vulnerable when we were in scrappy structureless games, or games where teams achieved physical parity. With our physicality, we dictated the flow of the game, executing our structured gameplan without interruptions. 

If we look at individuals, I'd have to go with Eben, Thor and Faf. Our front rowers were very consistent after the All Black loss. Thor was our most effective ball carrying forward in the knock-out rounds. Eben and Snyman were next - Kolisi put up some numbers out along the tramlines. 

Nov 05, 2019, 02:17

What a load of crap

Nov 05, 2019, 02:22

You need to get yourself a blow-up doll to vent your anger issues Saffy. I'm sure Lügnerin and Dame Linde can accommodate you. 

Nov 05, 2019, 02:23

But 98 out of 100 Climate Scientists tell us the models are good.

Nov 05, 2019, 02:28

I have never heard of Opta, nor do I recall anyone on this board every referencing them as a credible source of rugby. 

This does not invalidate it, but it has to build more credence and acceptance. Of the cuff, I would rather rely on the RWC committee that includes rugby greats like George Gregan, Mccaw, John Smit and co. 

Is it a case of beating a dead horse... With all of the accolades that the Boks have been awarded over the last few days.

Image result for beating a dead horse gif

Nov 05, 2019, 02:30

Opta and Verusco are long time producers of stats for professional use. I have referenced both numerous times. 

Nov 05, 2019, 02:32

Hey Augie,  I remember reading you are in Israel. I'm reading Wouk's The Hope at the moment, some really interesting history, especially the recapture of Jerusalem. Are you permanently resettled?

Nov 05, 2019, 02:37

The fact that 2 Samoans made the side and not a single Bok is enough evidence to prove it’s a load of utter horse shit

Rugby stats provide zero context they add about 20% to the real picture

Our own observations paint the real picture

Nov 05, 2019, 03:18

I am Moz. I haven't read that particular work, but can say that Israel's history, both at home and abroad is very interesting and intricate. My Jewish ancestors can be traced back to Russia, into Poland, back into the Middle-East. 

Nov 05, 2019, 04:35

This is based on computer models that is also reflected in fantasy rugby models.point allocations.   It is always condemned by Mozart as not related to reality - but is now suddenly a new norm for player evaluation.   

It is weird that when I mentioned that Rugby Magazine rated Labuschagne as the best performing loosie in the RWC he nearly had a fit and now suddenly it is all supported by him as proof that Du Toit is not a good enough player,

Fact is that computer models do produce strange results and to then claim it is the only norm to evaluate players and team performances is not really realistic.  We have a classic example touted by AO that it proves that the Springbok team losing all three RC games in 2015  and being bottom of the RC log performed better than the RC winning team in 2019.    

AO also used the model to evaluate the team situation in the WC and some stories about all the rugby strength is in the NH and that Rugby in the SH is poor in comparison with the NH teams.

One has to realize that computer models in reality can for some purposes be abused because it takes no account of the strength of competing teams.  For instance take the case of Labuschagne again as an example.   He was exceptionally good against the weaker teams where he scored most of his computer points.  The same applies to Mo-unga and other selections.   So the question remains are these models totally reliable to evaluate team performances and the answer is no it is not.   

Anyway it is the type of  thing the BSters on site will use to enhance their distorted views  especially when certain pertinent information is left out of calculation.   Strings of info is used by AO to prove his statement that the present Springbok team is poor compared to the glorious team of 2015 by just leaving out two components - namely the winning of matches and tries scored in matches.

Nice try Mozart and AO - if you are so happy about the models - why don't you join Fantasy competitions and wipe the floor with all of us in the competitions.       


Nov 05, 2019, 04:47

I proved that the 2015 RC was of higher quality, more competitive. Australia were the best attacking side in the world, and we played them in our third worst venue on earth. We would have won comfortably had Damian been able to defend at even a below-average level. The media were very positive after that loss, praising the style of play and the new midfield partnership. 

We then played the All Blacks, where we lost due to an illegal lineout play. The media was still very positive after this game. 

It wasn't until the Puma test that the media soured. Los Pumas putting up a very physical display exposing our lack of go-to ball carriers. Lood, Coetzee, Koch being heavily-outgunned, we lost the scrum battle and conceded 19 turnovers to Los Puma's 9. We beat them in the return fixture. This was the Puma side who were magnificent ball-in-hand all season. 

All attacking stats were higher than the 2019 Boks. You say these figures are irrelevant, yet how can it be that we ran more, beat more defenders, made more clean breaks, got more metres, attempted more passes yet still be less on attack than the 2019 Boks? You make no sense. I suggest you start supporting the Boks and stop making Rassie your would-be waifu. Your endless distortions of reality are becoming a bore, particularly when you repeat exactly the same beaten arguments over, and over, and over, and over. Some of these have been covered and recovered twenty-three times in the past ten months! 

The bottom line: The RC this year was of low quality, aside from one game: The Aussie thumping of New Zealand, which happened to actually showcase their best attacking play of the competition. New Zealand were not the team they were up until 2017, certainly not the team they were in 2015. The Aussie side we faced was the worst Wallaby side in 44 years. Los Pumas were patchy to say the least. All three sides were inferior to their 2015 counterparts. 

To make matters worse for you, 2015 was one season before the spike in attack numbers. For the Boks to not only regress from 2017, but to fail to eclipse the trends of 2015? That's quite shocking. Your argument is dead on arrival Lügnerin. 

Nov 05, 2019, 05:26

Augie one of my best friends at UCT, a surfing buddy, was killed in the 1973 Yom Kippur war. He was the furthest thing from a bellicose character, but just felt he had to serve. Noble and sad.

So many South Africans have left and chosen their own particular solution....resulting in a people scattered  all over the Planet with rugby  as one of the few remaining threads. That's why for me the Board is a small bit of the past.

But it's thin porridge, so it  must be a good feeling to experience the opposite,  people streaming  back to a homeland,  The Hope is worth a read.

Nov 05, 2019, 05:37

I can just see Aug and Moz hunched over their computers scouring the internet to find anything negative against the Boks and Rassie. I thought it was only CC that rejoiced in whatever negativity he could conjure up about South African rugby, but apparently he has company. 

Here is some advice for you both. South Africa is fucked. As clever as you both think you are, you have no clue what it is like to live here. Especially for those that can't leave. And don't bore us with stories of people you know in SA telling you how it is. If you don't live here, you don't know how it feels to be generally unwelcome in your own country with little or no hope for the future. I fucking beg you, please stop shitting all over the Boks, Rassie and our World Cup win, they are the only thing giving South Africans a little bit of joy!

You're both smart right? Open your eyes

Nov 05, 2019, 05:53

Mozart and AO are both members who were discredited totally in the RC and in the WC.   What they have specialized for years was to try and find cases in games which they could use to discredit some players.   If they could not find any - they used bogus arguments to support their spurious stories, 

They try all kind of computer info to claim that the Springboks in 2015  losing all games and a negative point tally of 23 ending up last on the log played better rugby than the team did in 2019 in where they won the RC and had a positive point count of 51.   The same idiot claimed that in the WC SA was better in 2015 and it was deficiencies by them that the fact that the loss in the 2015 must be attributed only to two players and not the inability in that series to score tries.  They were loud about the Japanese disaster that year by blaming two players for the loss - while the real problem was team malfuntioning as a whole.   

I am with BB on this one - Mozart and AO should both stop being idiots and start accepting that they were wrong in what they wrote persistently on site and start accepting the win of the RC WC trophies this year,             

Nov 05, 2019, 06:01

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Nov 05, 2019, 06:17

Opta is a resource.....with some of the most ambitious quantitative analysis in rugby. So it's of interest that their models select a totally different team to anybody else. Of interest, not a negation of the Boks' win.

I was actually going to make the point that their  team is way off base, which means the model has to be flawed. Or perhaps the rugby they built their model with, is not the rugby Countries play at the  WC. It's almost like a different game, in part because of the intensity.

As for the situation in South Africa, I'm sure it's tough....but you know Bloo, you're going to find it's also tough being an emigrant. And if you want to succeed I'd advise you to stop the lecturing and holier than thou crap, nobody wants to hear it.

Nov 05, 2019, 06:19

So join fantasy games based on the same data and see where you get/  So also lets accept that computer data wins games and the junk team produced by the data won the WC in 2019.   Have fin conjuring rubbish on site to discredited the WC winning team.    

Nov 05, 2019, 06:27

I always have fun Muck.....but are you having fun looking at Vermeulen as MOM in the final and the Boks playing exactly the kind of rugby you criticized HM for playing. Tell us more about the expansive game moron.

Nov 05, 2019, 06:30

@Moz: I'm sorry to hear that Moz. I can appreciate that desire to defend the land. With things going the way they are, I'll be in that very same position.

@Blue: Where have I gone overboard to attack South Africa? Or to diminish the World Cup victory? Not so. I do correct errant posts. There are a lot of them. As I've said previously, the only Bok coach I personally dislike is Pieter. I don't diminish their achievements under his tenure. I haven't done that to Rassie. Were you to tell me that the Boks did great to win the RC, I would and did say "great". I have been consistent in my belief that an abbreviated tournament is of little value as teams utilise it as preparation for the World Cup. I said the very same thing when Australia were twice champions. The problem is we have Lügnerin use it as a platform to attack Meyer. Lügnerin is not a Bok supporter, but a Rassie supporter. Rassie is, in his mind, the anti-Meyer. It is very important for Lügnerin to have Rassie prevail in every instance so as to personally attack Meyer. He continually makes these comparisons, if we do not respond, he will start threads calling us out, to insult us. He brings it on himself. If we do perform these comparisons accurately, we end up with the information I, Moz and Pakie post. This is not a personal attack - I've actually been very critical of Meyer as well, perhaps more so during the 2014 EOYT. 

To the World Cup? I am glad we won, I predicted that we would win, almost by the actual margin. Yet again, however, these comparisons are made. Lügnerin loses the debate each and every time. When discussing other aspects of the performance, I merely say it as it is. Before the final, most people were not very impressed by the Boks. In typical South African fashion, the win over England erases that past and now we see an entirely new narrative take over. Rassie reinvented the Boks, he implemented an entirely new gameplan. All nonsense. It's this kind of bravado that takes hold before another fall. It will happen again, nothing changes in our rugby community. 

My assessment of Rassie was that he is an average coach. Nothing particularly stands out as exemplary aside from the defence. The tactics were very limited and conservative. I said this was more appropriate than the blazing-guns approach of Coetzee. More sensible, yet it was not revolutionary. It was nothing at all spectacular, and as I have repeatedly shown, it has moved us further and further away from the trends in the game. Our attack is pitiful. We are too heavily scripted. These are legitimate concerns. He got to the final and won, and I'm not going to take that from him, but he is not a coaching guru. He is most certainly not the best ever Bok coach. Until the fanboys temper their valuation of his tenure, we'll continue to have these debates. I'll call errancy and lies out each and every time I see it. 

That's the nature of this platform. Discussion. If we do as Mike proposed, "getting rid" (I was told I needed to be murdered) of disagreeable members, we'll have a rather sterile place. 

Nov 05, 2019, 06:33

@Moz: That has been the most entertaining aspect to all of this: Rassie has broken all of Lügnerin's "rules of the game". He hates Meyer, yet Rassie is everything he claims Meyer is, down to a t. I can't relate how much I have laughed over these discussions. I can just imagine the old coot bashing his keyboard in rage. It keeps me coming back! 

Nov 05, 2019, 06:44

If it was 2012 and Rassie was the Bok coach.....Morne Steyn would have been his starting flyhalf and Alberts his hard yards guy. They fit the game plan perfectly. As it is Faf kicked more than Morne ever did. 

Old Muck thought Rassie was going to build a NZ game....and he built an HM game. And the closer he got to HM's tactics the more successful he became.

Nov 05, 2019, 07:30

Moz, I have no illusions about how tough it'll be to be an immigrant. But the very fact that I am leaving anyway just proves my point. You obviously got offended by what I said, and felt the need to have a go at me. No problem, I would do the same if I felt attacked, but I implore you to just take stock of the point I was making. You have accused me of being holier than thou a few times before, and quite frankly I don't give a rats arse, the fact remains, if someone doesn't point out the obvious to you, you quite clearly won't see it by yourself. I'm not going to engage you any further on this. Think of me as a holier than thou doos, I don't care, but my semtiments are legitimate.

Augie, I am not disputing the legitimacy of your take on Rassie, though I think he is a good coach. We have differing opinions, which is fine. Do I agree with Mike's take? No. The pendulum swings all the way to the opposite side with him. I'm jusy saying let the bottle of wine air for a bit before diving in. 

Nov 05, 2019, 08:06

The best player on the planet is usually a man that stands head and shoulders above the rest ... (and I'm not referring to the length of his neck). A man that everyone rates as special ... as having had a cracker of a season ... being consistent in every match.

Pieter-Steff Du Toit????

I don't think so.

It's almost the same as claiming that Kolisi deserves to be the Bok 6 and captain. Totally laughable. 

Let's face it ... it was a tossup ... a flip of a coin ... and what decided it was the Goats winning the trophy.

Same can be said for the coach of the year. Rassie took the award knowing full well that the best coach on the planet is ... and has been ... for at least the last decade ... Eddie Jones.

Winning the WC Trophy (even as a fluke) was all he needed to receive the award.

I think it's clear enough why every Goat was overlooked for the Opta Team.

There is none worthy of selection. Not one.

Nov 05, 2019, 08:30


Another bloke who claimed that winning the WC is of no consequence and was a fluke - I always thought that you were playing the fool by pretending you were anti-Springbok in the WC - but this is really taking it beyond the pale.

The Player of the Year was determined by a panel of experts and I do not think either you or me are really qualified to determine that they do not know rugby at all.

Are you prejudiced or do you really think you can join Mozart and AO - the known two Idiot Speakers on site.   Think please - that would spoil your image as a respected member on site totally,   LMAO     

Nov 05, 2019, 08:30


Nov 05, 2019, 08:38

You still haven't answered my question, where was Steph's elite production? He was said to have been the best counter-rucker in world rugby, where did this occur? Where were his ball carries? He was average throughout. Rushing out the line to run into the wrong All Black was a nice touch. Really world class. Defensive gaffs galore, but it doesn't matter, it's Steph. You "now" he is the best player in the world, you just can't tell me why/how you know this. So you point to someone else. The true mark of someone out of their depth, knowing nothing. Looking for an agreeable mouthpiece. This is how you find this strange taste of egg in your life. 

Nov 05, 2019, 11:07

 Posted by: sharkbok (10013 posts)

Nov 05, 2019, 02:28

I have never heard of Opta, nor do I recall anyone on this board every referencing them as a credible source of rugby.    “

You hear of them on a weekly basis. You just don’t know it. Ou Maaikie’s ESPN get their stats from OPTA. OPTA’s been their source for ages. 

Nov 05, 2019, 11:16

OPTA, btw, has nothing to do with fantasy rugby games. They only work on high quality facts, not weighted values, put together by a bunch of journos. 

Nov 05, 2019, 15:18

So Bloo you drop your little bomb and then refuse to engage, but your sentiments are legitimate?  Your life and the life of your mates is tough? And winning the WC alleviates all that, so we can't have any reservations? And we can't possibly understand what's happening.

Hmmm. Well while everybody was having a good time  in the old RSA, hitting the beaches and having boerwors....some of us concluded we had to leave. And as a white South African you weren't exactly the flavour of the day on an American campus in the Vietnam era. Nor was it great going from a life of luxury to virtual poverty in a Chicago winter...tough on the wives.

Point is these massive social upheavals are never easy street. But with a bit of guts and the conviction  that you can change your fate, one can survive. I'm desperately sorry for the generation that's trapped in South Africa and I help as best I can with those I know. But this isn't unique, almost everybody who came to America has a somewhat similar story and a generation later the kids own the world.

Nov 05, 2019, 15:28


For your sake I am glad you got out of the hell hole SA became and I regret I did not leave in 1964 and go to Australia when I had a chance to go.  But anyway you are now in a much better place than anybody in SA even though I think Chicago can have a better administration than they have at present.   Best wishes for you.   

Nov 05, 2019, 15:37

In a foreign land there is no in-group. You are always the outsider, whether you are generally well received or not. Starting from scratch is no picnic either. I should remind them that they will never understand that. Try growing up in four countries, on three continents with three languages! (Not including the Afrikaans I was being taught before I left South Africa)

Nov 05, 2019, 15:42

The reality is I live in a suburb well outside Chicago, comprised of large country properties and take my afternoon walk for 2 miles along Lake Michigan. It's Constantia. 

Chicago is the best pure city in the US with wide boulevards, a river, the Lake and stunning architecture. It has a great art museum, world class opera and symphony and a host of terrific restaurants.

 I'm equidistant from two great golf courses and we have a Ferrari dealer in town, where I have been a customer for 34 years. Lots of opportunity to have fun.

Chicago and Illinois have big financial issues, but they are too big to fail. The crime where I live is virtually non existent...although some college kids as a prank tried to steal my Dylan Lewis stalking Cheetah this year. Fortunately it was too heavy for them to pick up and  there was a full police investigation of this 'shocking' incident.

But for any emigrant there's always a sadness, a connection that can't quite be made.....a sentiment you can't explain. I still think the best days were surfing at the Corner with a light north wind.

Nov 05, 2019, 16:24

beat that dead horse some more...

Image result for beating a dead horse gif

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