Schools: The Front Row Union Rugby Rankings Week 4.
Somewhat surprisingly, RBAI (1st) have once again managed to surpass their Belfast rivals, Methodist College (2nd), albeit only just (by a score of 672 to 662). This is given the fact they have played stronger opposition so far, most recently RS Armagh (11th) compared to Methody’s latest opponents, Bangor GS (13th). Expect these two teams to swap positions a number of times over the coming weeks if they both keep up their form.
There’s good news for Limavady GS fans, as their team’s two wins at the expense of Rainey ES (9th) and Regent House (24th) has once again placed Limavady in the top-ten (8th). Meanwhile, Wellington College (25th) and Antrim GS (26th) both significantly improved (from 30th and 29th respectively) as playing a game helped them both to avoid inactivity penalties – and that with playing against each other!
Important upcoming fixtures (Sat 3rd Nov):
BRA v Bangor GS: This week’s 12th-placed team plays that just below them
Coleraine AI v Foyle & L’Derry: The north-west derby rolls into Coleraine with the away side probably as favourites
|Rank||Team||Win %||Opponent Rating||Score||Rating||Previous Position|
|12||Belfast Royal Academy||0.600||0.435||373||0.572||13|
|17||Foyle & L’Derry College||0.571||0.427||293||0.471||17|
For those of you who keep up-to-date with Ulster Schools’ 1stXV rugby on this site we have some important news: starting immediately this season, we have improved the formula that generates the rankings you see posted on The Front Row Union website each week.
To help understand these changes and the ranking system in general, we’ve provided a few questions and answers below that should help to make things clearer:
What is the point of the ranking system?
This system was mainly designed so that every one of the 32 teams involved with Ulster Schools’ 1stXV rugby could be ranked using the data available, without the need for every team to have played against every other.
How is the ranking calculated for each team?
The three biggest factors taken into account are each team’s win percentage (number of wins, draws, and losses), opponent rating (the strength of sides faced) and competitive rating (their progression within the various competitions), alongside penalties for inactivity which prevent less active schools being ranked higher than they deserve. The formula produces a score for each team using these factors which then allows us to rank them in order from 1 to 32.
Are points/tries for/against taken into account?
Presently, no, and probably not in the near future for two main reasons: firstly, with a lack of scoreboards at matches, fans (and indeed coaches/players) often argue over the exact score of each match, so they are difficult to confirm; secondly, the margin of victory/defeat often has to do with the opponent played, which is already taken into consideration in the calculation.
Hey, my team defeated that one! Shouldn’t we be above them?
Not necessarily: the ranking for each team is based on the season as a whole, not a head-to-head basis, so often teams can be ranked below those which they have beaten. Don’t worry though, if you’re truly better than they are it will show eventually!
What does the rating of each team actually represent?
The decimal rating assigned to each team represents a calculated estimation of that team’s ability. To put it another way, if every team played every other in a full season, the score is what win percentage would expected of each team, given the data available. This is why teams’ ratings change week-on-week even if they haven’t played; it is a comparison with the performance of every other team.
So, has scoring changed in the new system?
Yes and no: the original scoring is retained but is now understood as a rating (see previous question). However, each team now receives a second score per week as a measure of performance (simply called score). This second rating is a number between 0 to approx. 1000; the higher the number the better the performance. This second scoring system, unlike the first, allows teams to be compared week-on-week and even season-on season as the same score in any two weeks represents the exact same level of performance.
Is opponent strength now calculated any differently?
The new formula has been updated to better reflect the opponent strength faced by each team. Originally, an average was taken across the season as a whole up to that point, whereas now the average is calculated using the strength of opponent dependant on how strong they were when they actually played the team in question. This leads to a more accurate representation of a team’s performance and stops the situation whereby a team could see their performance improved/downgraded without actually playing that week.
Have any other changes been made?
Penalties for inactivity are still included but now accumulate from week to week if a school does not take part. This will help to prevent schools sitting higher in the table for an extended period as sometimes happened with the original system.
How are these numbers used to rank the teams?
Teams are placed in order firstly by score then by competitive rating, form and finally, opponent strength. If there is a still a tie at this point other factors such as head-to-head record, competitive match-ups and inactivity penalties may be taken into account, but it is unlikely that this would be needed, and has so far proven to be so.