The real winner of the last five Rugby World Cups

Player catching rugby ball

Now that the dust has settled on the 2019 Rugby World Cup, we can look back and analyze the accuracy of the World Rugby rating system. Before each World Cup, a great deal of attention is paid to the numerical ratings and the resulting ordinal ranking positions of the World Rugby system, and the ratings are assumed to provide guidance on what to expect in terms of match outcomes.

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Who will win the 2019 Rugby World Cup?

Rugby player places ball for kick

Will the New Zealand All Blacks win their third successive Rugby World Cup (RWC) title in Japan in November? Who are their biggest rivals? Which team will be the ‘dark horse’? To answer these questions, we apply statistical models developed by Rugby Vision to estimate each team’s chances of reaching various stages of the competition, such as qualifying for the quarterfinals or winning the tournament.

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Six Nations rugby: increased predictability (despite England upsets)

Rugby match

With the Six Nations rugby championship kicking off this weekend, we have two years of results to add to our understanding of the competition, following my 2017 article, “6 Nations Rugby - who’s the biggest overachiever?”. The six nations involved are England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. We will look for recent changes in the ratings-based predictability of the teams in general and for recent changes in the distribution of upsets in particular, when ratings-based predictions proved to be wrong.

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Still running against the odds: revisiting the London Marathon ballot

London Marathon magazines

Monday 15 October had a lot of people eagerly awaiting the postman to deliver the result of the London Marathon ballot – the lottery by which approximately half of race places are made available to the public. Unfortunately, the majority of applicants will have been left disappointed by the outcome: a record number of people applied for the limited number of places available. I wrote about the ballot process three years ago, and since then the London Marathon has only increased in popularity.

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