[wptabs mode=”horizontal”][wptabtitle]REVIEW[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]With a great number of matches taking place, the Cup getting underway and Cup entry round being confirmed, some of the most interesting changes so far this season appear in this week’s rankings:

Given Methodist College’s close win over Belfast rivals Campbell College, their place at 1st position has been strengthened further while RBAI and Campbell hold on to their closely-matched respective 2nd and 3rd positions (only 15 points different between their scores).

The first change comes at fourth position where RS Armagh have risen to their highest ranking so far this season, given their confirmation as Round 4 starters, and despite not playing an Ulster-schools team this week; in contrast, Limavady GS have dropped to 11th after a one-point defeat against Ballymena Academy (6th) and being confirmed as Round 3 rather than Round 4 entrants.

At the bottom, Larne GS (30th) have picked up form at just the right time and moved back off the bottom spot* giving that ‘honour’ instead to their defeated first round opponents, Cambridge House (31st). In Round 2, they will go on to face Regent House (28th) who are sitting in their lowest ever position since rankings began in 2007.
[/wptabcontent][wptabtitle]RANKINGS[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]The Front Row Union Rugby Rankings 2012-13. Week 9

Rank Team Win % Opponent Rating Score Season Rating Previous Position
1 Methodist College 100% 0.542 714 0.920 1
2 RBAI 78% 0.605 643 0.845 2
3 Campbell College 81% 0.561 628 0.827 3
4 RS Armagh 77% 0.501 559 0.755 6
5 Sullivan Upper 69% 0.555 557 0.748 4
6 Ballymena Academy 65% 0.544 528 0.716 5
7 Wallace HS 54% 0.623 510 0.694 8
8 Ballyclare HS 55% 0.529 461 0.642 10
9 Down HS 64% 0.525 447 0.624 9
10 Rainey ES 63% 0.502 427 0.601 11
11 Limavady GS 67% 0.443 408 0.579 7
12 Bangor GS 54% 0.546 406 0.573 12
13 Belfast Royal Academy 67% 0.381 366 0.530 13
14 Grosvenor GS 50% 0.478 352 0.512 16
15 Portadown College 50% 0.476 351 0.507 14
16 Omagh Academy 50% 0.467 346 0.499 15
17 Coleraine AI 42% 0.493 318 0.467 17
18 Dalriada 38% 0.442 278 0.424 23
19 Foyle & L’Derry College 50% 0.447 277 0.419 18
20 Belfast HS 38% 0.498 241 0.378 20
21 Friends’ School 40% 0.408 216 0.351 19
22 Portora RS 33% 0.472 211 0.342 21
23 Wellington College 80% 0.189 202 0.332 22
24 Banbridge Academy 22% 0.531 172 0.295 24
25 Carrickfergus GS 20% 0.495 153 0.273 25
26 Lurgan College 38% 0.241 142 0.260 30
27 Antrim GS 17% 0.406 121 0.234 29
28 Regent House 9% 0.682 118 0.225 26
29 RS Dungannon 10% 0.589 114 0.218 28
30 Larne GS 13% 0.471 104 0.206 31
31 Cambridge House 29% 0.181 94 0.195 27
[/wptabcontent] [wptabtitle]RANKING FAQ’S[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

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.[/wptabcontent] [/wptabs]


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