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19th Aug 2015

Here’s how the home nations will get on at the Rugby World Cup…according to science

Thank God for science...

Kevin Beirne

The Rugby World Cup is just around the corner and we’re very excited here at JOE.

But if you can’t wait to find out who will lift the Webb Ellis Cup, some people much smarter than us at MIT have predicted the entire tournament using advanced statistics.

Thanks to a complex algorithm similar to the one used to rank chess players, have ranked all the teams at this year’s World Cup and predicted how they will do.

Unsurprisingly, the top-ranked side is New Zealand and RugbyVision reckon they have a 46.4% chance of retaining the title they won in 2011.

As for the British teams, England are apparently destined to lose a home final to the All Blacks after beating Ireland in the semi-finals and Scotland in the quarters.

Poor old Wales are not even expected to make it out of the group of death behind England and Australia.

RWC knockout rounds

According to RugbyVision’s numbers, Wales have less of a chance of making the quarter-finals (36.5%) than England do of reaching the final (50.5%)

Meanwhile Japan are more likely to get out of a group containing Scotland, South Africa, Tonga and the USA (3.8%) than the Scots are to reach the final (1.1%).

In terms of alternatives to New Zealand, England lead the way with a 24.6% chance, far higher than next-best challengers South Africa (8.8%), Ireland (8.4%) and Australia (7.3%).

Of course there will always be surprises – just think New Zealand vs France in 1999 and 2007 – but it’s an interesting way of attempting to make sense out of the madness that is the Rugby World Cup.

You can check out the projections for each team below (click to enlarge) and catch live predictions for each game individually at

RWC Predictions