Supercomputer Believes Picking Rugby World Cup Winner is Black and White

As the Rugby World Cup kicks off on Friday insurer QBE has turned to technology to look for the potential winner.

The underwriter’s actuaries within QBE Business Insurance have created a complex mathematical formula for a supercomputer to work out the chances of each team winning the competition.

The Northern hemisphere nation look good to get to the quarter finals but the computer believes there is one clear winner.

Under the algorithm England, Ireland and Wales are predicted to win all four of their group stage games while Scotland is predicted to lose only one of their games to Six Nations rival Ireland.

In the pick of the first round of games, Wales are predicted to narrowly overcome rugby giants Australia 21 – 22 to nip them to top spot in Pool D. England will make easy work of France in their toughest opening fixture and Ireland will score their record haul of points at this stage of the tournament, mustering an impressive 144 points as they dominate their early fixtures. Scotland’s progression will come down to a nervy final group stage fixture as they will need to overcome the host nation Japan to book their place in the quarter -finals, which they are predicted to do with aplomb beating Japan 18 – 28.

The predicted scores in each game are based on 10 years of historical data and how well each team has played in the past against opposition of similar ranking, as well as the success ratio for kickers, the impact on each team of playing at home or away, and the international experience of each team captain.

Each simulated match uses probabilities and random numbers to generate an outcome. Modelling the entire tournament 3,750 times gives an idea of how far each team will go in the tournament and the chances of this happening.

However, despite early success in the tournament, the supercomputer predicts that the Home Nations will find life much tougher in the latter rounds, with Ireland having only a 1% chance of winning the tournament. England and Wales fair slightly better, with Wales second favourites to win the tournament with an 11% chance of winning their first ever World Cup and England not far behind with an 8% chance of repeating their 2003 glory. However, it will come as no surprise that the supercomputer has predicted New Zealand are overwhelming favourites to retain their place as world champions, with a 50% chance of making it three on the trot.

Matthew Crane, Executive Director of Market Management at QBE, said: “We live in unpredictable times and while we can put all the science in the world into predicting the future, we can never be 100% sure. The Home Nations have a real chance of going far in the tournament and a final against the All Blacks is not a foregone conclusion. Anything can happen, which is why with the right preparation the title is their for the taking.”

Probability of winning the tournament

Nation Probability
New Zealand 50%
Wales 11%
England 8%
Australia 4%
South Africa 3%
Ireland 1%
France 1%
All others 0%
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