A great weekend of rugby, almost predicted by the model (well, sort of). The model picked the right winners in 3 out of four games, but got the winner of the fourth game – Argentina v. Ireland – wrong. However, its not as good as it seems (for the model, anyway). There was only the Wales v. South Africa game where the model come within the 7 point margin. The other three matches, well, the points difference was not in the same ballpark. A forecast comfortable win for the ABs turned out to be a blow-out in their favour. The Ireland-Argentina game was expected to be very close, but a skilful Argentina side put paid to that and blew away the Irish. And Scotland – Australia, well, the model has to thank a certain refereeing decision for helping to ensure it got at least the winner right…
Taking account of these results on the ratings, we get some reasonably significant changes:
New Zealand rise 2 points to 104, France continue their recent fall to 81, Australia drop 1 to 94, Scotland are up 1 to 78, South Africa rise by 3, Wales fall by 1, Ireland drop by 2 and Argentina rise up into second in the ratings at 95. There are some other movements also, as the ratings are re-adjusted for the remaining teams, as a result of the quarter final results (and the fixing of a score for one of the USA games – my bad).
So, what then for the semi-finals? Throwing the match-ups into the model we get:
South Africa v. New Zealand. Winner: New Zealand by 10.
No doubt in the model’s opinion – NZ to run out clear winners by two scores. Let’s hope the maths are right!
Argentina v. Australia. Winner: Argentina by 1.
This is the surprise prediction – Argentina ahead (just) of the Wallabies. In fact, it should be even closer – the model cannot decide if the rating for Australia is 94 or 95. I chose 94, as 94.5 just makes no sense, and I wanted to produce a winner rather than a draw. So Argentina it is. Of course, the model takes no account of things like poor performance or returning players. So, if you think the return of Pocock will boost the Aussies, and that the Scotland game was an aberration, then it may be fair to expect an Aussie win. But it looks like it will be very, very close.