}

26 Sep 2012

Richie McCaw rated best captain of all time



With the recently announced news that (Sir) Richie McCaw will take a well earned sabbatical in 2013, missing the Crusaders' Super 15 challenge (as well as the All Blacks' June Internationals) before his triumphant Rugby Championship return, Dumptackle Rugby Blog decided to take a look at the most successful international captains in rugby union history.

But how do you judge an international captain? Is it by World Cups won? The number of test matches won? Or is it continued success over time?

Well it seems (Sir) Richie McCaw has all bases covered, leading the rugby union pile in almost all areas according to data compiled from ESPN Scrum.....


Richie's record I hear you ask? Games won as captain - 65 out of 73. Percentage of games won as captain - 89.04%. The lucky bugger even won a RWC last year! Those are statistics that warrant a little rest and relaxation if you ask us.

Read on to find rankings of the top 20 International captains of all time, sorted by a variety of measures, culminating in our Dumptackle Rugby Blog  'ultimate ranking'!


Test Matches Captained


Name Country Period Matches Won Lost Draw %Won DT Points
B O'Driscoll Ireland/Lions 2002-2012 84 52 31 1 62.5 20
J Smit South Africa 2003-2011 83 54 28 1 65.66 19
R McCaw New Zealand 2004-2012 73 65 8 0 89.04 18
W Carling England 1988-1996 59 44 14 1 75.42 17
G Gregan Australia 2001-2007 59 34 25 0 57.62 16
J Eales Australia 1996-2001 55 41 12 2 76.36 15
S Fitzpatrick New Zealand 1992-1997 51 39 11 1 77.45 14
L Arbizu Argentina 1992-2003 48 28 20 0 58.33 13
H Porta Argentina 1977-1990 46 16 25 5 40.21 12
M Johnson England/Lions 1997-2003 45 37 8 0 82.22 11
T Miuchi Japan 2002-2008 45 17 27 1 38.88 10
F Pelous France 1997-2006 42 27 15 0 64.28 9
R Ibanez France 1998-2007 41 26 15 0 63.41 8
S Parisse Italy 2008-2012 40 8 32 0 20 7
S Sititi Samoa 2000-2007 39 19 20 0 48.71 6
M Bortolami Italy 2002-2012 38 14 23 1 38.15 5
M Bollesan Italy 1968-1975 37 15 20 2 43.24 4
M Giovanelli Italy 1992-1999 37 14 22 1 39.18 3
G Teichmann South Africa 1996-1999 36 26 10 0 72.22 2
N Farr-Jones Australia 1988-1992 36 23 12 1 65.27 1


Test Matches Won as Captain


Name Country Period Matches Won Lost Draw %Won DT Points
R McCaw New Zealand 2004-2012 73 65 8 0 89.04 20
J Smit South Africa 2003-2011 83 54 28 1 65.66 19
B O'Driscoll Ireland/Lions 2002-2012 84 52 31 1 62.5 18
W Carling England 1988-1996 59 44 14 1 75.42 17
J Eales Australia 1996-2001 55 41 12 2 76.36 16
S Fitzpatrick New Zealand 1992-1997 51 39 11 1 77.45 15
M Johnson England/Lions 1997-2003 45 37 8 0 82.22 14
G Gregan Australia 2001-2007 59 34 25 0 57.62 13
L Arbizu Argentina 1992-2003 48 28 20 0 58.33 12
F Pelous France 1997-2006 42 27 15 0 64.28 11
R Ibanez France 1998-2007 41 26 15 0 63.41 10
G Teichmann South Africa 1996-1999 36 26 10 0 72.22 9
P Saint-Andre France 1994-1997 34 25 9 0 73.52 8
N Farr-Jones Australia 1988-1992 36 23 12 1 65.27 7
WJ Whineray New Zealand 1958-1965 30 22 5 3 78.33 6
S Sititi Samoa 2000-2007 39 19 20 0 48.71 5
JP Rives France 1978-1984 34 19 13 2 58.82 4
J Pienaar South Africa 1993-1996 29 19 8 2 68.96 3
A Pichot Argentina 2000-2007 30 18 12 0 60 2
S Mortlock Australia 2006-2009 29 18 11 0 62.06 1


 Winning Percentage as Captain
 
Name Country Period Matches Won Lost Draw %Won DT Points
R McCaw New Zealand 2004-2012 73 65 8 0 89.04 20
M Johnson England/Lions 1997-2003 45 37 8 0 82.22 19
WJ Whineray New Zealand 1958-1965 30 22 5 3 78.33 18
S Fitzpatrick New Zealand 1992-1997 51 39 11 1 77.45 17
J Eales Australia 1996-2001 55 41 12 2 76.36 16
W Carling England 1988-1996 59 44 14 1 75.42 15
D Dubroca France 1986-1988 25 18 6 1 74 14
P Saint-Andre France 1994-1997 34 25 9 0 73.52 13
G Teichmann South Africa 1996-1999 36 26 10 0 72.22 12
J Pienaar South Africa 1993-1996 29 19 8 2 68.96 11
F Galthie France 1999-2003 25 16 8 1 66 10
J Smit South Africa 2003-2011 83 54 28 1 65.66 9
N Farr-Jones Australia 1988-1992 36 23 12 1 65.27 8
F Pelous France 1997-2006 42 27 15 0 64.28 7
R Ibanez France 1998-2007 41 26 15 0 63.41 6
B O'Driscoll Ireland/Lions 2002-2012 84 52 31 1 62.5 5
S Mortlock Australia 2006-2009 29 18 11 0 62.06 4
A Pichot Argentina 2000-2007 30 18 12 0 60 3
T Kiernan Ireland/Lions 1963-1973 28 14 9 5 58.92 2
JP Rives France 1978-1984 34 19 13 2 58.82 1


DTRB's 'Ultimate Ranking'

After all the points were cumulated, we decided that leading your country to RWC glory had to have some impact statistically on the ratings too (even if that skews the results in favour of players from the bigger test nations).

Therefore, 5 points were also awarded for any player who captained their nation to RWC glory.

*Note that Sean Fitzpatrick was a WC winner as a player in 1987, but lost in the final to South Africa when he captained the side in 1995. Hence he was not awarded 5 points.


Rank Player Cumulative Score RWC Points Total Points
1 R McCaw 58 5 63
2 J Eales 47 5 52
3 J Smit 47 5 52
4 W Carling 49
49
4 M Johnson 44 5 49
6 S Fitzpatrick 46
46
7 B O'Driscoll 43
43
8 G Gregan 29
29
9 F Pelous 27
27
10 L Arbizu 25
25
11 WJ Whineray 24
24
11 R Ibanez 24
24
13 G Teichmann 23
23
14 P Saint Andre 21
21
14 N Farr-Jones 16 5 21
16 J Pienaar 14 5 19
17 D Dubroca 14
14
18 H Porta 12
12
19 S Sititi 11
11
20 F Galthie 10
10



Dumptackle Rugby Blog's view:

While the statistical results will always be skewed in favour of modern day players who play more test matches in a more congested international schedule, the stats give a decent indication of which captains have been influential for their teams in the modern era, as well as their longevity at the top of the game.

Unfortunately, past legends of the game such as Colin Meads and Sir Brian Lochore don't feature highly in the rankings, as many of the matches they featured in were not regarded as 'tests' during the days of fully blown tours.

Thus, while Sir Brian Lochore (regarded by many as NZ's greatest ever captain) captained the All Blacks 46 times between 1964 and 1971, only 18 of them were given full test match status.

Therefore a purely opinion based ranking may look very different to the statistically based ranking we came up with.

The top 10 don't look to bad to us though. Don't ask us how Will Carling ended up joint 4th. We haven't got a clue either!



What do you make of the rankings?

12 comments:

  1. Interesting reading. Yeah comparing modern players with those from the 1960s is like apples and oranges. That winning percentage as captain is impressive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True Scotty.

      As I said in the post...if it was purely subjective, the list would look different.

      As it is though, once can't deny that McCaw/Johnson etc have some pretty impressive win ratios as captain.

      Obviously a winning team depends on other factors too, not just a captain, but in my opinion, McCaw has won quite a lot of close games for the AB's.

      Delete
  2. Richard McCaw’s record is as astounding as it is remarkable given the professional era that he plays in today. His leadership is unquestionable, his playing ability is envied and judged to be the epitome of a modern open side flanker.
    His detractors are many as are his critic’s, he’s not flashy nor is he opinionated. He is the Captain of the most scrutinized rugby team in the world with the harshest supporter base being that of an entire Rugby mad nation.
    He does his job, but he also does it better than anyone else!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Have to say it may seem strange seeing Carling equal with johnson, but if you think about....although Johnson led england to rwc glory, he did f**k up a lot of the grand slams on the way, so in many ways I feel his captaincy is sometimes overplayed.

    Of course it's completely subjective really who is a great captain but the stats are interesting.

    What strikes me as quite impressive is that most of the captains who had good winning percentages were only captain for short periods, whereas McCaw has been captain for 8 years!

    Smit and o'Driscoll's records are both around the 65%mark with the same kind of length of captaincy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. Then again O'Driscoll's comes with a side which isn't a traditional powerhouse.

      I've always rated his leadership, both with Ireland and Leinster.

      Delete
  4. 89% success rate as captain? That's incredible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. if the all blacks continue this unbeaten streak right through the UK tour, then McCaw will crack the 90% success rate as captain. Also, after the victory today vs SA he has become the first person to secure 100 test wins. Will that ever be beaten?

      Delete
    2. Within this All Blacks team Mealamu is on 85 wins and Carter on 81, so they could conceivably get there. Further abroad, O'Driscoll is on 75, so that's possible albeit unlikely.

      Delete
    3. It's quite an incredible record. It looks like a record which he might keep for a while too if he keeps on going until RWC 2015.

      I expect NZ to create a new record for consecutive wins. They've been pretty comfortable on their northern hemisphere tours for a couple of seasons and with the state of the game in Europe, the only side I can see challenging them is Wales. England at Twickenham are always a tricky proposition though.

      Delete
  5. it is a good site you collect various fact but if you want to read about IPL plz visit http://www.iplpointstable.com/

    ReplyDelete