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Paul Gustard's Roadmap

Paul Gustard’s Premiership Roadmap 2019/20

by PoorFour

Well, here we go again. A little belatedly for the Premiership, and a little bit more belatedly for me. I may have been distracted by a typhoon that hit certain parts of Japan with a force we haven’t seen for 50 years or more. Friends on the scene tell me that the devastation in Yokohama was total, with only tattered shreds remaining where All Black egos once proudly stood.

But back in the more modest conditions of Blighty, Quins have begun Gussy’s second season in charge with the goal of going one better than our fifth place finish last year. Early results haven’t given us much to go on: a narrow loss at Sandy Park is usually a good sign, but the win that Quins ground out over Bristol at the weekend was lacking in flair despite the atrocious weather.

The aim of the roadmap is to help us cut through that, and form a fairly reliable view of where we stand at any point in the season

How the roadmap works

As fans, we would love Quins to win every game but coaches know that’s not a realistic goal. The Gallagher Premiership is too competitive for that, especially with key players away for so much of it. So coaches break the season into blocks, and in each block will have certain games they target. Over the course of the season, they’ll adjust their targets for upcoming blocks depending on how previous ones have gone.

At a game by game level, the general aim is to win as many home games as possible, away games against the weaker sides, and try to get bonus points when you do lose. Try bonuses are usually just that, bonuses; you can’t count on getting too many. The season aim is to gather enough points over the course of the season to top the table, or failing that make top 4. If you can’t do that, getting top 6 and Champions Cup rugby next season is the aim. And if even that is beyond you, better make sure you finish in 11th.

The number of points needed for each of those slots has been fairly consistent over the seasons. The way I like to do it is to look at the average number of points needed for secure the position below the one you want, and then add one standard deviation (a measure of how much that average varies from season to season) and round up.  That gives you a total that will secure the position you want about 90% of the time. The exception is avoiding relegation, where I like to build in a safety margin, so I look at what it would take to secure 11th and add a standard deviation to that. That conveniently ends up with a target that’s 1 point above the highest ever points total for a relegated team – the 38 points garnered by Quins in 2004-05.

This formula is remarkably stable over time. When I added last season’s data to the table, the targets didn’t change, so I’m just going to show you a summary, and the last couple of years’ results:

Year

Relegated

11th

7th

5th

2nd

2018-19

31

41

55

56

78

2017-18

22

36

56

63

77

2016-17

20

33

52

59

84

2015-16

20

27

55

60

74

2014-15

1

34

54

68

75

2013-14

16

22

49

67

78

2012-13

23

33

53

60

74

2011-12

32

33

46

59

74

2010-11

23

23

52

62

76

2009-10

28

32

48

57

71

2008-09

17

34

53

61

66

2007-08

12

34

59

63

70

2006-07

33

34

51

61

71

2005-06

27

41

45

56

66

2004-05

38

40

47

57

73

2003-04

3

37

53

55

73

2002-03

34

36

42

56

62

Average

22.4

33.5

51.2

60.0

73.1

Std Dev

10.1

5.2

4.3

3.7

5.1

Target

33

39

56

64

79

 

The 2019-20 Roadmap

So, what should we be looking for this year? Here’s my attempt. I’ve focused on wins and LBPs, adding TBPs as necessary to get us to the required totals for a given position.

Round

Date

Home team

Away team

11th

39

6th

56

4th

64

1st

79

1

19/10/2019

Exeter Chiefs

Harlequins

0

0

0

0

1

1

1

1

2

26/10/2019

Harlequins

Bristol Bears

4

4

4

4

4

5

5

6

3

01/11/2019

Northampton Saints

Harlequins

1

5

1

5

1

6

1

7

4

09/11/2019

Harlequins

Worcester Warriors

4

9

5

10

5

11

5

12

5

01/12/2019

Harlequins

Gloucester Rugby

1

10

1

11

4

15

4

16

6

21/12/2019

Wasps

Harlequins

1

11

1

12

1

16

4

20

7

28/12/2019

Harlequins

Leicester Tigers

4

15

5

17

5

21

5

25

8

03/01/2020

Sale Sharks

Harlequins

1

16

1

18

1

22

4

29

9

24/01/2020

Harlequins

Saracens

0

16

1

19

1

23

1

30

10

14/02/2020

Harlequins

London Irish

4

20

5

24

5

28

5

35

11

21/02/2020

Bath Rugby

Harlequins

1

21

1

25

1

29

4

39

12

28/02/2020

Harlequins

Exeter Chiefs

0

21

1

26

1

30

1

40

13

06/03/2020

Bristol Bears

Harlequins

1

22

4

30

4

34

5

45

14

20/03/2020

Harlequins

Sale Sharks

4

26

4

34

4

38

4

49

15

27/03/2020

Saracens

Harlequins

0

26

0

34

1

39

1

50

16

10/04/2020

Worcester Warriors

Harlequins

1

27

4

38

4

43

5

55

17

17/04/2020

Harlequins

Northampton Saints

1

28

1

39

4

47

4

59

18

24/04/2020

Harlequins

Bath Rugby

4

32

4

43

4

51

4

63

19

08/05/2020

London Irish

Harlequins

1

33

4

47

4

55

5

68

20

15/05/2020

Gloucester Rugby

Harlequins

1

34

1

48

1

56

1

69

21

29/05/2020

Harlequins

Wasps

4

38

4

52

4

60

5

74

22

06/06/2020

Leicester Tigers

Harlequins

1

39

4

56

4

64

5

79

 

Last season we were just shy of 4th, courtesy of a late season slump. Here’s hoping that Quins’ recruitment pays off and we can edge towards the top of the table this season – but we also need to recognise that the top of the table gets more competitive each year.

 

 

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