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Andy Friend Explains How Connacht's 'Moneyball' Approach Helps Them Find Gems

Andy Friend Explains How Connacht's 'Moneyball' Approach Helps Them Find Gems
Colman Stanley
By Colman Stanley
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Shamus Hurley-Langton's Player of the Match performance in Connacht's unexpected URC quarter-final win over Ulster was a real 'sit up and take note' moment for many onlookers.

His rounded display as full of turnovers, carries, and big moments, alongside his backrow teammates Cian Prendergast and Conor Oliver.

Speaking on The Rugby Pod, Connacht DOR Andy Friend explained how their head of performance analysis Simon Kavanagh crunches the numbers to find cheaper, lesser known options such as Hurley-Langton.

Sadly for Ireland he's one generation away, sadly he can't get his passport, I think it's his great- grandmother.

We've got an analyst, Simon Kavanagh, who does an amazing job, and crunching numbers is all analysts do. And Shamus' name popped out of his number machine about a year ago, a year and a half ago.

We've had a few of them pop out.

Connacht Are Using Moneyball Strategies To Find 'Diamonds In The Rough'

READ HERE: Mack Hansen Shows Off Horrifically Graphic Head Injury After Connacht Win 

Langton arrived at the start of the season from the Manawatu Turbos, and like other Connacht players such as Mack Hansen and Jarrad Butler, he has been a revelation at the province, despite being far from a household name.

When reading Friend's words and about Kavanagh's methods, one cannot help but be reminded of the Oakland A's and their famous 'Moneyball' approach to signing players - a story so good that it became a hit Hollywood film starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill.


"Again we go back to our resources, we can't afford an RG Snyman, we can't afford a Damian de Allende, a Duane Vermeulen", continued Friend.

"We'd love to but we don't have the funds for that. Our model is to find the rough diamond and polish him up, and Mack Hansen was a rough diamond.

"Johnny Porch has come in, he's done extremely well. Jarrad Butler, I think he's played his best footy since he's come here to Ireland.


"And for lot of people, they're names that they wouldn't have heard of.

"We tend to go for a lot of the Australians and Kiwis because Tim Allnutt is our head of operations, he's a Kiwi, my Australian background, so we know a lot of those blokes.

"Shamus fell out of the crunching machine I call it, he's been unbelievable, I just thought he was phenomenal on Friday night."


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