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Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What is Pick and Go?

P&G is a search engine designed to interrogate a series of databases containing international rugby union test match results and present them in a variety of formats. A separate database contains Super 12/14/15 results. P&G is controlled from a single search panel and offers huge flexibility for grouping results together. By using the variety of filters on the search panel, millions of combinations of queries are just a single click away.

Note that the following instructions apply to the the P&G Test match facility, with additional references for the Super Rugby feature.

Q. What sort of things can I do with Pick and Go?

The following are just a few examples of the type of queries P&G can process:

1. Bledisloe Cup results by year (Click any winner/holder to zoom to actual match results).
2. Six Nations results by year (Again, click any country to zoom in).
3. World Cup results by tournament (ditto).
4. Lions Tour results by series (ditto).
5. Show every England v All Blacks match sorted by best-to-worst result
6. Show every test match that France has played (with averages)
7. Show the All Blacks' longest winning streak against Australia (9 matches).
8. How about the All Blacks' longest undefeated streak against Australia? (11 incl. 1 draw).
9. Which teams held the major rugby trophies at the start of this Millennium? (About trophies)
10. When did Australia have an impressive "Full House" in their Trophy Cabinet?
11. What goes up...!
12. OK, show any results between Scotland and Fiji played at neutral venues
13. The cup that time forgot...(but the Aussie's suddenly remembered!)
14. How many 5N matches resulted in draws?
15. Show all of South Africa's World Cup results
16. Show Wales' worst losing streak against all-comers (2 years on and they're 6N champs).
17. Sir Clive Woodward's all-conquering England
18. How many "wilko wins" did the 2003 World Champions enjoy against top opposition? (See below for the definition of a wilko win).
19. SCW's coaching record against New Zealand
20. Show all the Tri-Nations teams v's the Six Nations teams matches since the game went professional (Read about how the tiers work here).
21. OK, how about the top NH teams v's the top SH teams matches this century.
22. In the professional era, have the Boks played better at altitude...
23. ...or at sea-level?
24. Who were the most successful teams in the world between 1991 and 1992? (Read about how the ranking matrix works below).
25. Anyone remember the 70's??
26. If Italy hosted a match against Argentina right now, how would the result affect their positions in the IRB rankings?
27. And, would it be different if that match was played in a RWC tournament?

and some examples using the Super 12/14/15 database:

28. Latest Super 15 standings.
29. Standings at the end of round 6 in 2003...
30. ...and at the same period in the 1998 competition (get the idea?)
31. Championship and ranking history for the most successful team in Super Rugby.
32. All match details of The Waratahs v South African Teams with stats
33. All match details of New Zealand teams v Australian Teams with stats
34. Matches in 1997 where the Brumbies scored bonus points for 4 tries or more
35. Matches in 1996 where Transvaal scored bonus points for losing by 7 or less
36. Every away win by The Blues

Please feel free to experiment with the multitude of options on the selection panel and you will soon get to grips with what P&G can do.

Q. How do I use it?

Pick and Go is controlled from the dark grey search/selection panel near the bottom of the screen.

The easiest way to start using P&G is via the "Competitions/Tours" drop-down box. Simply pick one of the first six trophy or tour options, click "and Go!", and you will be presented with a summary screen showing the full history of that event. Alternatively you can click on one of the trophies in the Major Trophy Holders table (Version 2 update) or one of the link columns in the fixture list. You can then zoom in by clicking on any country that you are interested in and see the full match details followed by summary stats underneath. Note that by doing this, you are still viewing the same selection screen but some of the filter boxes on the selection panel will now contain additional search criteria.

An example:

  • Select "6 Nations" from the "Competitions/Tours" drop-down box.
  • Select Irelands results for 2004 by clicking on "IRE". You will see that in the whole competition the triple-crown winning teams average score was 26-16 (46 points more than their opponents), they scored 17 tries and let 8 in, and they won all 3 of their home games.
  • On the same screen, scroll down to the selection panel. You will notice that the "to" and "from" years have been filled in and "Ireland" is in the "Team(s)" box with the blue background.
  • Click the "Home" check box and then "and Go!"
  • Notice that the blue title above the results box now says home. You will also see that Ireland's average score at Lansdowne Road was 31-11 and they scored 11 more tries than their 3 visitors.

    Q. Help! There are so many different options on the selection panel, which ones should I use?

    The filter boxes enable you to zoom in on results meeting specific criteria. If you don't enter anything in a filter box, it defaults to "all" so that box will not be a factor in the selection process. For simple "team A playing team B and the stats", just select the team and their opponent and away you go.

    Below the "Team(s)" boxes are a number of checkboxes and "Other" options. With the exception of "ranking matrix", you must enter something in at least one of the four light blue boxes to use any of these options. This is because the results need to be aligned so that the stats can show a country, or group of countries results versus something else. Sorry if this sounds complicated. It isn't, and once you start using it, hopefully you'll see what I mean!

    Q. How about a more advanced example?

  • Clear any existing filters in the search panel by clicking on "Start Again".
  • In the first "from" Year box enter "1987" and in the "to" box next to it enter "2004"
  • In the light blue "Hemisphere" box underneath "Team(s)" choose "SH"
  • In the light blue "Tier" box choose "1"
  • In the Opponents "region" box (not the light blue one), pick "BRI"
  • Click "and Go!" and you will see that in the period 1987-2004, the Tri-Nations teams played British Home Nations teams 149 times and won 78% of the time, the average score being 31-16.
  • Now, on the selection panels "Other" drop-down box, choose "longest winning streak" and click "and Go!"
  • You will see that from Nov 1989 through to Oct 1992, the SH sides had a 16 match winning streak.
  • Back on the selection panel, check the "draw" checkbox "and Go!".
  • You should now see that from Jul 1997 to 1998, the SH had a 23 match undefeated streak which included 2 draws.
  • Finally on the selection panel, choose "worst to best" from the "other" box "and Go!"
  • Each match has now been assigned ranking points and will be sorted accordingly from the SH's perspective with England's 2003 RWC win at the top down to Australia's 1991 RWC win at the bottom.


    Q. What match results are in the databases?

    The test match database currently contains every recognised test match played between the All Blacks, Springboks, Wallabies, France, England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, and Argentina and anyone else they played between 1871 and the present. You will also find the results for every British Lions test (including tours by Great Britain/Anglo-Welsh teams) and every Rugby World Cup match ever played. The Super Rugby database contains detailed match results for every game since the Super 12 began in 1996.

    Incidentally, if you have any results or corrections to results in the database, please email them to me and I will attempt to add/correct them. As well as the date, score, and location info, I'll need try counts too.

    Q. When you said P&G contains every "recognised" test match in the previous answer, recognised by whom?

    I think this is best summed up in The Reed Book of All Black Records 1883-2003 By Geoff Miller. Reed, 2003:

    A test match in its simplest terms should be a test between the best players of one country and the best players of another country. It is the right of an individual country to decide whether or not to recognise the game as a test match. The New Zealand Rugby Football Union (NZFRU) have used their right more often than all other countries in declining test match status to a large number of games. The biggest group of these is the
    24 games played against the New South Wales Waratahs from 1920 to 1928. Rugby union was not played in Queensland at this time, so in effect NSW was Australian rugby. The Australian Rugby Union recognise these games as test matches but the NZRFU steadfastly refuse to do so.
    Other games declined test match status against the best another country could produce include Argentina 1976 (2), 1979 (2); Canada 1980 (1); Fiji 1968 (1), 1974 (1), 1980 (2); Italy 1977 (1), 1979 (1); Japan 1987 (2); Uruguay 1976 (1); USA 1980 (1).

    P&G does contain such results as the NSW games and the rebel NZ Cavaliers tour but these won't appear if viewing NZ's overall test record.

    Q. What are the numbers in the "Pnts" column and why do they change on some displays?

    The default points are 3N/S12/Zurich Premiership style i.e. 4 for a win, 2 for a draw, and bonus points for 4 tries and losing within a score. Apart from the 3N competition, these have absolutely no relevance to test match rugby but I've added them in for all games anyway (bonus points have also been adjusted to allow for try values increasing over time). Results displayed via the 5N/6N tournament filters, will be displayed correctly for those competitions as 2 for a win and 1 for a draw.

    On other screens, P&G will calculate its own ranking points based on a number of factors like whether it is a home/away game or at a neutral venue, what tiers the 2 teams are in, world cup semi and final results etc. There are also win and loss bonus points although not for minnow-bashing. Ranking points are used in most of the "Other" options (best to worst, worst to best, ranking points, and the fixed ranking matrix).

    Example of differing Ranking Point computations:
    1) On 26/02/05 Wales beat France in Paris. The score is 18-24, two tries each. Wales (Tier 2) score 6 basic points for a win, 2 bonus points for beating a Tier 1 side, and 2 bonus points for doing it away from home (TOTAL 10 POINTS). France score 1 consolation point for finishing within 7 of Wales.
    2) On 29/03/03 France beat Wales in Paris. The score is 33-5, three tries to one. France (Tier 1) score 6 basic points for beating a Tier 2 side, no bonus points for home advantage, and no bonus points for outscoring Wales by more than 14 because Wales are a Tier lower than them (TOTAL 6 POINTS).

    Note that the relative ranking matrix (added in Version 8) uses a new algorithm for computing ranking totals which is based on the method used by the IRB when comprising their Official World Rankings.
    Read about how this points exchange method works on the IRB site

    Q. What is the "Adv" column?

    "H" - Home Advantage, "A" - Away, "N" - no advantage as the match was played at a Neutral venue e.g. World Cup. The results of many games are so close these days that home advantage is becoming an increasingly significant factor.

    Q. What are the tiers?

    Each team has been assigned a tier rating as follows:

  • Tier 1: NZL, AUS, SAF, FRA, ENG, LIO
  • Tier 2: WAL, IRE, SCO, ARG, ITA
  • Tier 3: any other team who has played any of the above since 1950

    Q. How did you decide which teams went into which tier?

    The above groupings are pretty much in line with the IRB world rankings and I think would be agreed in most rugby circles as being an accurate reflection of the world order over the past couple of decades. One limitation of P&G is that it doesn't allow for a team to change tiers over time. When calculating ranking points, P&G penalises teams losing to lower ranked ones so that is why the All Black losses to Wales rate as some of their worst even though Wales were undoubtedly a Tier 1 team back in the 1950's. Of course Welsh supporters will probably say it's working correctly...

    Q. Why do you need tiers and what effect do they have on the statistics?

    I decided that using tiers would allow more flexibility when grouping countries together e.g. to see the stats of all tri-nations teams playing all six nations teams, select SH Tier1 vs NH Tier<3. Each tier also carries different weights for calculating ranking points which are used in "best to worst" and the "fixed ranking matrix".

    Q. How do the trophy cabinet displays work? (Feature added in Version 2)

    There are two different types of trophy displays:

    Major Trophy Holders.
    Just enter a "to" year, with no teams specified and the major trophies at the end of that year will be displayed with holders at that time displayed beneath. Click on a trophy to see its entire history. Click on a holder to see all winning results.

    Country Trophy cabinets.
    In most cases, whenever a team is selected in the blue box, their trophy cabinet will be displayed at that time (default is the current contents). When a team has held a trophy but subsequently loses it, the trophy logo changes to a cobweb. Click on a trophy or cobweb to see the entire trophy history. Click on a "held since" or "lost in" year to see those results.
    Country trophy cabinets at quarterly intervals are displayed by zooming in from a ranking matrix.

    Q. Why haven't you got many results for the lesser rugby nations?

    It's a matter of obtaining those results. You email them to me (including try counts) and I'll gladly add them in.

    Q. How do I change the winning and losing streaks into undefeated streaks i.e. including draws.

    Click the "draw" checkbox along with the streak (note that it won't be saved for next time but the title will change to "undefeated" or "including draws").

    Q. What are Wilko wins/losses?

    I could have just as easily called them Don Clarke wins/losses but somehow it doesn't have the same ring to it. Wilko wins are where a team beats its opposition but fails to score more tries than them i.e. victory comes courtesy of penalty kicks and drop goals.

    Q. What are the ranking matrices and how do I use them?

    Apart from looking like an explosion in a paint factory, each ranking matrix is an attempt at showing the relative positions of the major test playing nations over a given period. There are two types of ranking matrix - fixed & relative (default). Simply select one of them from the "Other" drop-down box. All other filters will be ignored apart from the optional date range (earliest "from" date is 1960 but the default is for the past 3 years only).

    The fixed ranking matrix shows the ranking point totals (for the previous 12 matches) of each team at the end of each yearly quarter. By clicking on any total, the stats for those 12 matches will be displayed. The number next to the total in brackets indicates that teams world position at that time. World champions' tenures are indicated in their team colours.

    The relative ranking matrix, added in Version 8 uses a different technique based on the points exchange method used by the IRB. Read about how it works here.

    I'll be the first to admit that neither of the ranking matrices is perfect however I hope they at least show the ebbs and flows of each teams fortunes as they strive to peak for each World Cup. Kiwis take note. Team Rankings were added for Super Rugby teams in version 9.8.

    Q. Your ranking matrix is crap!

    That's not a question! Show me a ranking system that's 100% accurate and you'll be as popular as a Shelford gonad at the bottom of a French ruck...

    Q. Why total up the previous 12 matches for the fixed ranking matrix?

    I experimented with a few numbers and 12 seemed about right as it represents about a seasons worth of rugby.

    Tip: If you want to see what the rankings look like based on fewer matches, try entering a smaller number in the "Venue" box when you select ranking matrix.

    Q. What are the date shortcuts?

    The following single lowercase letters may be entered in the leftmost "from" Year field to prime the dates accordingly:

    m - modern era (present date back to 1987)
    p - professional era (present date to 1996)
    a - amateur era (1995-1871)
    c - this century (present to 2000)

    The "from" field also supports decade requests for the past 100 years e.g. "80s" will set the from date to 1980 and to date to 1989. Both "To" and "From" fields now support explict dates in the format yyyy-mm-dd e.g. 1991-06-24 (Version 9.4)

    Q. What do the "a", "n", "s", and "e" in the "Round" column of Bledisloe/Mandela/Freedom Cup/Cook Cup/3N results mean?

    Due to the strange rules governing who retains/takes these trophies, the lowercase letter indicates whether Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, or England held the relevant trophy following each match. Challengers must normally win both home and away legs to take these trophies whereas current holders can retain by just winning one.

    Q. How does the Super 12/14 section work?

    The Super Rugby database was added in Version 4. The main screen looks like the ubiquitous standings table however this version allows you to zoom in on actual match results, wins, draws, losses, home, away, bonus points etc etc. The table for the current year also includes a fixture list for games still to be played. By changing the year/round on the selection panel, you can also see what the table looked like at any other time in the competition since 1998, or at the competitions completion in years prior to that. This makes it easy to compare a teams progress with previous years.

    By selecting a team name, a comprehensive history is displayed showing past championship results and competition statistics.


    Q. I keep getting the message "0 matches have been displayed"?

    Silly answer but check that you are entering valid options in the search panel! The blue title at the top of the screen will also indicate which options you have chosen. Start from scratch and add filters in the search panel one at a time. Don't add filters unless they are necessary to uniquely identify your selection e.g. Selecting "Team=All Blacks, Hem=SH, Region=PAC, Tier=1" will yield the same results as "Team=All Blacks".

    If it's still not displaying a valid result you may have found a bug so please email me a screen snapshot.

    Q. Why don't the results always have the statistics and summary boxes underneath them?

    Unless you enter something in one of the 4 blue boxes under "Team(s)", P&G has no way of knowing what you want to total up. The default view is to display the results in the format that they are stored in the database in i.e. home games always on the left. Incidentally if you prefer this view, leave the blue boxes empty and enter the team details on the "Opponent(s)" side.

    Q. I select various options but all I keep getting are the 20 latest results?

    See the previous answer. P&G defaults to the 20 latest results if you enter an invalid or ambiguous combination of options.

    Q. Sometimes when I pick "winning or losing streaks", additional results are returned.

    Unfortunately this is a foible that occurs at the start/end of some streaks. If other matches were played on the same day (matching the same criteria), they will also be listed. The streak is still correct, just ignore the extra results.

    Q. The output doesn't look right in my browser.

    I've tested P&G with IE5, IE6, native Mozilla, and Firefox. Please email me details of problems encountered with other browsers.


    Q. Why did you do this?!

    Two reasons. I wrote the search engine to get more experience writing PHP (PHP Hypertext Preprocessor) and MySQL (My Structured Query Language). The webpage is dynamic, i.e. each time you make a selection, the HTML (the language that describes the webpage and its content) is rebuilt based on data retrieved from the database. To a computer geek like me, that is kinda cool!

    The other reason is that as an avid rugby supporter, I couldn't find anywhere on the web that offers this kind of information, all from one place. There are plenty of excellent websites with stats for one country but my aim was to produce something that was more global.

    Q. How long did it take to develop?

    It took about 2 months to write and test the main 3000+ line PHP program. I've been collecting match results for quite a while but I had to resort to using library books for some of the older stuff.

    Q. Can you write a similar thing for me?

    <shameless plug!>

    Yes, by all means. My rates are very reasonable! MySQL is ideally suited to many types of data and by combining it with PHP, you can create a very powerful application quite quickly. It needn't be sports results, but anything that can be stored in a database.

    Please email me with details of what you have in mind.

    </shameless plug!>

    Q. Are you going to add other information like player statistics?

    Not at this stage.

    Q. How do I find out more about rugby?

    See the Links. You can also click on the team logo's displayed anywhere in P&G to go to that home unions website.


    This web page is dynamically generated by PHP which queries a MySQL database.

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