Over 2 thousand hours of research and design have gone into these prints. We wanted to make them true collectors items because they celebrate the entire history of test match rugby, the teams, the players and the coaches and because we are proud of our work.
The selection of our top 8 teams is based on their overall win percentage and number of first class test matches played throughout their history. This does have the unfortunate result of excluding teams like Italy, Argentina, Samoa, Fiji and Tonga - all of whom should arguably be included in this select group. Who knows, with enough interest, we might expand the edition to include them..
We have also used the win percentage to determine the order in which each print will be released. The 4 yet-to-be-released prints are all nearing completion while we verify and cross reference each of the more than 10000 data points on each print.
The Years (the central 'Splash' graphic)
Each year a team played 1 or more test matches is included. There are significant gaps in the years in some cases (especially the early days before jet travel, the World War 1 and world War 2 periods and the apartheid era). These gaps have all been removed so that the overall trend is much clearer. The length of each 'arm' of the splash graphic indicates the win percentage. We decided to include games drawn as half a win because we felt that this was a more accurate reflection of the success of the team during any particular year and certainly as part of an overall win percentage.
Each game is shown in the sequence it was played starting from the first game in the year closest to the centre. A win or a loss is indicated by an empty or solid circle respectively. Games played against another top 8 team are coloured according to that teams colour while a gray circle indicates an opponent not in the top 8 (each game is listed chronologically in the accompanying booklet so that it is quick to find the name of the opposing team for any particular game). Points difference is indicated by the size of the circle with the smallest size being a draw. Small is a difference of 15 points or less, medium indicates a points difference of more than 15 but less than 30, and large indicates a margin of 30 points or more.
Every player selected to represent their country is included, irrespective of whether they were capped or not. Additionally every official coach is included - in most cases teams only had official coaches from the 1950's onward. Each name is sized according to a calculated measure of success. We worked hard at developing an objective method to compare players from different eras and ultimately we felt it came down to 5 factors:
- Number of Caps - A player that has served his team for longer has contributed more to his teams success.
- Number of Points - The more points a player has scored the more successful he has been.
- Win % - The percentage of games won that the player played in.
- As Captain - Captains lead their teams to success (or defeat)
- Fame/Subjective Expert Opinion - Players inducted into their national hall of fame, the international hall of fame or the IRB hall of fame.
These factors are each weighted by a yearly weighting (based on average number of games and points in any particular year) so that players from different eras can be compared. Each factor contributes equally to the final measure of success.
The measure of success for coaches is calculated in the same way except that an 'as coach' factor replaces the 'as captain' factor, and points attributed to a coach are the points scored by the team divided by 15.
The Legend and Match Details
For the Collectors Edition we decided to put all the match details details in an accompanying print. This print includes a key that tells you how the graphic should be read and each game is listed chronologically with the name of the opponent, the final score and the venue. The Fans Edition has the key included in the boduy of the print.
The Limited Collectors Edition is only available on premium grade canvas using archival inks with a print permanence of over 60 years. We want them to last for generations! The Fans Edition is available in both premium grade canvas and art paper using archival inks.