Well, that was a good first round, wasn’t it? I’m going to get on to the teams who are automatically through to the second round in a moment, but first, let’s look at the teams in the repechage.
Durham v. Christ Church
Southampton v. Loughborough
On paper the first match looks straightforward, doesn’t it? Think again. Look at the two teams’ bonus conversion rates. Durham’s is a very good 59%. But Christ Church scored an exceptional 76.1 %. Yes, Christ Church scored 20 points less than Durham did, but then Christ Church were playing against the mighty Trinity team. This doesn’t mean that Christ Church are favourites for the match, but it means you must not dismiss their chances. Personally, I can’t call it. In fact, although Loughborough and Southampton’s scores were the same, I think it may be easier to predict the outcome. There’s a significant difference between their respective conversion rates, which suggests that although it could be close, Southampton look to me to just have the edge.
Ok, now let’s look at those teams already through to the second round.
Ranking the teams according to their match scores, there are only 40 points separating teams 3 to 8. All of them have a bonus conversion rate of 55% or over, except Peterhouse, with 54.7. So there’s not a great deal to choose. Arbitrarily picking on a couple of teams, it’s interesting to see double champions Manchester in the bottom half of the table, with one of the lower scores, and lower conversion rates. Yet I doubt that anyone will particularly want to draw Manchester in round 2, bearing in mind their fantastic track record in recent years. The University of London School of Oriental and African Studies scored a very good bonus conversion rate of 69.9, and they are, I dare say, a team to watch.
There’s lies, damned lies and statistics, apparently, so bear this in mind, but these same statistics seem to suggest that Queen’s Belfast, Cardiff and Reading could all struggle.
Well, I always make a disclaimer that first round form is notoriously unreliable as a guide to second round form, but it’s all we have. That’s my take on it – best of luck to all the teams.