Tradition is also very important.

The cynic may say that that’s obvious and thats possibly true.

But this site only relies on pure subjective opinion when there’s no data available to check.  Here, there is ample data available.  So we tried to see if we could demonstrate empirically if there was a robust relationship – i.e. to show if tradition really matters….

Well what we did was to look at how long a country has been playing rugby.  In Europe, the first international championship took place in 1882 between England and Wales.  As a historical aside, the game was a twenty a side affair in those days.  There was no formal scoring system.  The match ‘winner’ was chosen by adjudication.  Imagine – a world with no TMO.  Other countries joined the international party subsequently.

The specific test we employed was to check the relationship between longevity (measured by numbers of years played) and World Rankings.  What we found is that the relationship is positive.  In simple terms each additional year played adds a small increment to a nation’s World Ranking points total.  The net effect is that in general, the nations that have been playing the game the longest, have the highest international ranking.

Observation 2: tradition, as measured by longevity in years of play has really counted in RWCs. 

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Empirical Rugby

Empirical Rugby is a blog that provides fundmental insight into rugby union using empirical analysis of rugby data.

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