What has won RWCs ?

To summarise so far, the factors we have identified – and successfully tested empirically as determinants that can at least part explain success in past RWCs – are set out below (btw we have some more in stock we’ll post on later).

Remember the logic, RWC is an international tournament, and national characteristics may have an influence on a country’s rugby playing prowess.

Country fundamentals:

  • total national population had a negative effect (latter stages only); this makes sense in that the countries that are successful in rugby tend to be more small and medium sized in terms of population e.g. think of Australia and New Zealand
  • being a high growth economy had a negative effect (so more mature economies were more likely to succeed)
  • country national income (GDP) per capita had no effect (any stage)
  • in general, having land-mass in geographic tropics had a negative effect (suggesting that rugby is better suited to temperate climates)
  • being a Southern Hemisphere country was a good indicator (at least of reaching the final)

In terms of results and team specific variables:-

  • taller average second row height had a positive effect but only at one stage
  • having a heavier average scrum had a positive effect in the latter stages
  • having a long tradition of playing the game (years of play) was a positive indicator
  • World Rugby ranking was a good indicator of who would win the final

We’ll post again on some more variables we considered.

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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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