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Thread: Super Rugby Byes

  1. #1
    Veteran Sheikh's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
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    Super Rugby Byes

    Sorry if this just turns into a rant, but I was thinking of our byes this season, and how badly timed they were, and wondered if it was something the Force was being hit by, so I looked into it. Turns out, we aren't alone; in fact, we are one of the lucky ones!


    Between the start of the season (last weekend of February) and the final week (mid July) there are 21 weekends on which rugby could be played. Each team plays 15 matches during that period, has 2 byes and there is a 4 week suspension of rugby due to the internationals. The 2 byes in Super Rugby are supposed to be to give adequate rest to players tired due to the travel requirements of playing a competition in multiple continents. So are byes located anywhere near the periods of travel? Well, no, not really.

    Note that for most teams the bye lands between two matches. However, the Blues, Crusaders and Highlanders have their 2nd bye the week before the international break. For this, I assumed that the team was 'at home' the week after the bye.

    I looked for each of the 36 byes (18 teams, 2 byes each) at the matches played by the team for ~2 weeks before and ~2 weeks after. Any greater time period, I felt, would negate the effect of the bye.

    I found only 5 cases where a team's bye followed 2 weeks of matches away from home:

    Rd 3 - Bulls, although the previous matches were both in South Africa - Cape Town & Bloemfontein - so it barely counts
    Rd 6 - Sunwolves, the bye comes after a trip of: Bloemfontein, Pretoria, Singapore (sort of home)
    Rd 12 - Stormers, the bye comes after a 3 week NZ trip
    Rd 12 - Sunwolves, the bye comes after 3 weeks in NZ and a week in Buenos Aries
    Rd 13 - Reds, the bye comes after matches in New Plymouth and Melbourne, so probably not 'away from home' for 2 weeks

    That's it - only 3 times out of 36 where the bye would help a team rest up after a long trip.

    So is the bye to help prepare for a long trip? I found only 4 cases where the bye was not followed by at least 1 home game in the next 2 weeks:

    Rd 4 - Force, the bye was before a 2 week NZ trip
    Rd 6 - Jaguars, the bye was before a 3 week SA trip
    Rd 6 - Kings, the bye was before a 3 week Aus trip
    Rd 9 - Blues, the bye was before a 2 week Aus trip

    For only 4 of the 36 times could a bye be to prepare for a trip.

    I did notice, in the research, an awful lot of home games surrounding byes:

    Teams play at home the week prior to a bye 23 of 36 times (64%).
    Teams play at home the week after a bye 27 of 36 times (75%).
    Teams have a bye between two matches in the same country 24 out of 36 times (67%).
    Teams have a bye between two matches at home 18 out of 36 times (50%).

    So only 7 byes are either before or after major blocks of travel, half of the byes in Super Rugby are between two home games, and two thirds are between games in the same country, where travel shouldn't be an issue.

    Which leads me to the question: What is the point of the bye?

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  2. #2
    Champion sittingbison's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
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    Great work sheikh

    The real question though, is:
    ...Which leads me to the question: What is the point?...

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  3. #3
    Legend Contributor brokendown gunfighter's Avatar
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    I thought this was about giving us the bye bye!

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  4. #4
    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Good work Sheikh

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