So I expect I’ll be watching the RWC Final like everybody else, but there’s still a basic point about the game I don’t understand, especially after the France-England game (I’m from the AFL half of the country, but I’ve watched a reasonable amount of rugby league). It seems as if it’s a lot easier to kick three goals than to score and convert a try. (This is certainly true in rugby league which is why you only get one point for a field goal.) So the obvious strategy seems to be to go for goals.(On standard game-theoretic grounds, you should make the occasional attempt at a try, just to force the other side to defend against it).
But most teams seem to have only one player who’s any good at kicking. If a team had three or four players who could regularly kick goals from 40 metres, the task of the defence would be just about impossible. As soon as the attacking side got to within, say, 30 metres, they could pass it back to a randomly chosen kicker for a set shot at goal. Even with 50 per cent accuracy, this ought to bring in 30+ points a game, which is usually enough.
Chicago-style reasoning (Isn’t that a $50 bill on the pavement? No, if it was, someone would have picked it up) says there’s something wrong with this analysis. Can someone set me straight before Saturday?