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Just The Stats: The World XV – Decade By Decade (1950s, 1960s, 1970s)

What happens if you use statistics to put together teams of the world’s best players with the most impressive winning percentages by different decades?

Well, we’ll start with the 1950s.

1950s

The emergence of the All Blacks as a globally dominant force in rugby is evident here. Four New Zealanders feature, however Wales also have four representatives. England and France both provide two apiece.

Wales fly-half Cliff Morgan wasn’t just a fantastic commentator, he was also the leading number 10 of the 1950s.

Billy Williams was one third of an all-Welsh Lions front row during the 1955 tour, a feat not repeated until 2009 when Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees and Adams started the second test against South Africa.

1) Kevin Skinner (NZ) – 78%
2) Ron Hemi (NZ) – 75%
3) Billy Williams (WAL) – 69%
4) Tiny White (NZ) – 74%
5) Rees Stephens (WAL) – 73%
6) Clem Thomas (WAL) – 69%
7) Henri Domec (FRA) – 75%
8) Ned Ashcroft (ENG) – 75%

9) Pierre Danos (FRA) – 73%
10) Cliff Morgan (WAL) – 67%
11) Peter Thompson (ENG) – 71%
12) Roger Martine (FRA) – 80%
13) Jeff Butterfield (ENG) – 64%
14) Ron Jarden (NZ) – 69%
15) Michel Vannier (FRA) – 64%

You can watch this delightful and fascinating footage about the 1950 Lions tour to New Zealand here:

1960s

The side for the ’60s starts to see a number of All Blacks winning over 90% of the matches they played over a period of ten years. Bruce McLeod, Brian Lochore, Colin Meads and Chris Laidlaw all won over 90% of their matches which was not only unprecendented at the time but equals the tremendous achievements of the modern day All Blacks and their dominance of global rugby.

In total, eight players come from New Zealand, four from South Afric, two from France and a solitary Irish representative in Alan Duggan.

1) Wilson Whineray (NZ) – 81%
2) Bruce McLeod (NZ) – 90%
3) Ken Gray (NZ) – 90%
4) Colin Meads (NZ) – 91%
5) Johan Claassen (SA) – 84%
6) Hugo Van Zyl (SA) – 84%
7) Kel Tremain (NZ) – 83%
8) Brian Lochore (NZ) – 93%

9) Chris Laidlaw (NZ) – 94%
10) Piet Visagie (SA) – 75%
11) Jean-Vicent Dupuy (FRA) – 74%
12) Eben Olivier (SA) – 75%
13) Jacques Bouquet (FRA) – 77%
14) Alan Duggan (IRE) – 70%
15) Don Clarke (NZ) – 79%

Here are a few videos you may be interested to watch. The first is Eben Olivier scoring against the Lions in the fourth test of the 1968 Lions tour:

The next clip features some classic All Black moments from the 1960s:

1970s

The seventies is meant to be the ‘golden age’ for Welsh rugby, and indeed the statistics seem to back that up.

Gone is the All Blacks dominance of the ’50s and particularly the ’60s to be replaced by a side made up entirely of Welsh and French players.

Indeed, French winger Averous is the odd-one-out in the back division.

1) Gerard Cholley (FRA) – 76%
2) Jeff Young (WAL) – 73%
3) Robert Paparemborde (FRA) – 73%
4) Jean-Francois Imbernon (FRA) – 81%
5) Geoff Wheel (WAL) – 80%
6) Jean-Pierre Rives (FRA) – 79%
7) Terry Cobner (WAL) – 68%
8) Derek Quinnell (WAL) – 80%

9) Gareth Edwards (WAL) – 78%
10) Barry John (WAL) – 80%
11) Gerald Davies (WAL) – 73%
12) Steve Fenwick (WAL) – 67%
13) Ray Gravell (WAL) – 78%
14) Jean-Luc Averous (FRA) – 73%
15) JPR Williams (WAL) – 76%

Check out this brilliant documentary about the ’70s and Welsh rugby here:

There you have it then. It’s often said there are lies, damn lies and statistics, but perhaps these teams help to illustrate the changing nature of rugby through the ages and how great teams can come and go.

Next we will move on to the ’80s, ’90s and ’00s.

Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.