(Almost) Invincible New Zealand; Riches to Rags England

22 11 2010

An interesting article in the New Zealand Herald today which illustrates not only how good New Zealand have always been at rugby, but secondly, how extraordinarily good they have been under Graham Henry. Here is a list of the top 10 nations in the world by win percentages in descending order.

  1. New Zealand – 74.95%
  2. South Africa – 63.20%
  3. France – 55.42%
  4. England – 52.93%
  5. Australia – 51.89%
  6. Wales – 51.23%
  7. Scotland – 42.42%
  8. Argentina – 41.95%
  9. Ireland – 41.83%
  10. Italy – 28.22%

According to the article, the AB’s need only one more win to go to the unbelievable record of winning three games in every four over their entire history. Credit too must go to Graham Henry as it is down to him that they even have a shot at getting to this level. Since he has been in charge they have won an incredible 86% of their matches. Riches indeed.

Also interesting on this list is the fact that France and England are above Australia and that, perhaps most surprisingly, Wales are only a few decimal points off the men in Green and Gold.

What we wondered however was that since the dawn of professionalism when it is fair to say the southern hemisphere domination truly began; which teams have had the best record? Well the answer is, unsurprisingly given Henry’s record, still New Zealand, but with some change in the order following as the sides jockey for positions. (Tables are courtesy of scrum.com’s excellent ‘statsguru’).

Win Percentage from Aug 1995 to current day

Australia, France, England, Ireland and Argentina have all advanced their cases substantially with the notable losers being Wales and Scotland. South Africa, who maintained their pre professionalism record, slip down to fourth in the table simply by virtue of the others improving.

As English fan’s and being only too aware of their failings for the majority of the past decade, it is a bit of surprise seeing England riding so high with a 61% winning record. It is testimony, of course, to Clive Woodward’s England that they achieved this as, for 5 years from the ‘Tour of Hell’ in 1998 onto the end of the world cup, England’s record was an astonishing 84.12% and comfortably the best in the world over that period.

In what was an astonishing drop in standards, England have only won 45% of their matches since those halycon days with even Wales being above them. Notably in this table (reproduced below) Ireland are above Australia and France have sneaked into second place.

Winning percentage from December 2003 to current day.

From an English point of view then it is encouraging to see Johnson’s team finally show signs of turning the corner and hopefully improve these more recent figures dramatically.

To New Zealand we must simply say well played and give the rest of us a chance! It is truly astonishing when you look at these numbers that they haven’t won more world cups…




2 responses

22 11 2010

small note, Australia would have had to play a predominate amount of games against new zealand and South africa,less against wales, scotland, itlay and such. Making there schedule a little tougher. Not sure how many games NH teams have won in NZ or up in the highveld, but I bet it’s not many.

22 11 2010

Agreed – i did think that when I was writing it, but its only meant to be a bald stating of facts rather than an in depth analysis. I only started by looking at the Kiwi’s and then the English – was really just a piece by-the-by as it were.

Little doubt that the south reign supreme although, as I’m sure you’ll admit, despite two world cups the Aussies are probably the side that have lost most to northern sides.

Still all interesting though.

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