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Ireland overtake England to become 6 Nations favourites, actuaries predict

By Sandra Villanueva
Senior Media Relations Manager

Ireland’s performance in the second weekend of the 6 Nations has propelled them into prime position to take the title, according to the QBE Rugby Predictor.

The Predictor, which has been developed by actuaries at QBE Business Insurance and is based on a complex mathematical formula, normally used to predict the likelihood of earthquakes and floods, put England as favourites at the start of the tournament. Now, following two strong outings, Ireland have a 43% chance (up from 38%) of winning the tournament with England stuck on 40% and Wales in third place on 16%.

Ireland’s eight-try demolition of Italy in Dublin has seen them move to be favourites ahead of England who edged out Wales in a tight encounter at Twickenham. The Predictor gives Ireland the edge over Wales in this week’s match at the Aviva Stadium, setting up a title, Triple Crown, and possible Grand Slam decider at Twickenham on the final weekend.

Ireland’s attacking strength was on full display against Italy and the Predictor says they will carry that form through to Dublin to overcome Wales.

The England Wales match was a lower scoring affair than thought, the conditions, and two excellent defensive efforts, not allowing the free-flowing rugby that the two teams had displayed in the previous round.

Scotland will be hoping to avenge last year’s 61-21 defeat at Twickenham this weekend, but the Predictor offers little support, predicting a win for England at Murrayfield, which would extend their dominance of the Calcutta Cup fixture, having won every game since 2011.

MATTHEW CRANE, Executive Director Market Management, QBE Business Insurance, said:
“The last minute drama and unpredictable performances have made for an off-script 6 Nations so far and while the QBE Predictor now expects Ireland to triumph, the battle is far from over.  Businesses have to be prepared for the unlikely at all times and the same is certainly true for rugby teams.  Whatever this weekend brings, I am sure it’ll make for great viewing".

PREDICTIONS FOR THE TOURNAMENT (after two rounds of games)

Ireland    43%
England  40%
Wales     16%
Scotland   1%
France      0%
Italy           0%
Grand Slam 
None      57%
England 22%
Ireland    21%
Wales       0%
Scotland   0%
France      0%
Italy           0% 
Triple Crown 
None      44%
England 35%
Ireland    21%
Wales       0%
Scotland   0%


France   33  16 Italy
Ireland    23 17 Wales
Scotland 18 26 England

For further information and interviews please contact:

David Felton
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7256 8912

Andrew Mushett Cole
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7256 8912

Sandra Villanueva, Corporate Communications
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7105 5284

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Notes to editors:

QBE Business Insurance is a Principal Partner of the British & Irish Lions
QBE Insurance Group is Standard & Poor’s ‘A+’ rated and is one of the world's leading international insurers and reinsurers, headquartered in Sydney, Australia. We operate in 37 countries with a presence in all key insurance markets, and are lead underwriters within our chosen markets, setting rates and conditions
In Europe, QBE offers an extensive range of business insurance products from the standard suite of property, liability and motor to the specialist financial lines, marine, energy and political risk.  QBE works in partnership with insurance intermediaries to deliver tailored cover to businesses from sole traders, via its online trading platform, to SMEs, large corporates and global multinationals.

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Sandra Villanueva

Sandra Villanueva

Head of Media Relations & Content, QBE International