Data from SuperBru, the world’s largest Super Rugby prediction game, suggests that this year’s tournament is more competitive than ever.
The number of correct match predictions over the first three rounds is the lowest it has ever been, and on average, only 58.7% of rugby fans can accurately predict the outcome of each fixture.
|Season||Average % of correct SuperBru predictions|
This compares to 63.1% in 2011, 64.2% in 2010 and 74.8% in 2009, clearly indicating that results are becoming harder to predict and that the tournament is becoming more and more competitive.
Gone are the days in which one or two teams from each country, such as the Bulls, Crusaders and the Reds, were so dominant – the data suggests that the gulf in quality between the top and bottom teams has been reduced and matches are more tightly contested as a result.
In 2012, the average winning margin in Rounds 1 to 3 has been just over 8 points, compared to over 12 points last year and nearly 15 the year before – and even this season’s 8-point average is skewed by the Bulls’ thrashing of the Cheetahs in Round 2.
This news is likely to be welcomed by tournament organisers, since more competitive matches should result in increased spectator attendances and viewing figures. The effect has certainly been felt on SuperBru, where participation in 2012 has more than doubled from 2011.
The reason for the increased competitiveness could be attributed to several factors, such as the number of ‘derby’ matches which tend to produce close matches, the shift in referees’ interpretation in various facets of play, or a new coaching emphasis on defensive solidity.
Whatever the reason, unexpected results are playing havoc with my SuperBru predictions, as my 57.14% accuracy will attest, but it’s pleasing to know that I’m not the only one having a hard time.