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QBE supercomputer makes England favourites to win Six Nations

By Sandra Villanueva
Senior Media Relations Manager

The unlikely happened in Dublin last weekend when favourites Ireland came up against a determined England side, which battered its way to surprising 32-20 win.

Before Saturday’s game QBE Business Insurance catastrophe planners, using a complex mathematical formula, had made Ireland clear favourites to win the Guinness Six Nations tournament, unless England were able to deliver an unlikely win in Dublin.

The updated QBE Rugby Predictor now doubles England’s chances of winning the tournament – from 28% to 58%. Ireland, on the other hand, have slipped from a 42% probability of winning the Six Nations to having just an 11% chance now.

MATTHEW CRANE, Executive Director of Market Management at QBE, said:
“As we have said many times before, while we can put all the science in the world into predicting the future, we can never be 100% sure. England’s victory in Dublin proves that anything can happen and the need to be prepared for all outcomes. I look forward to the left field performances this weekend’s games bring.”

The QBE Business Insurance Predictor applies some of the techniques actuaries use to predict the impact of catastrophes such as earthquakes and floods, and actuaries have used the formula to simulate the tournament 10,000 times producing outcomes from 150,000 games.

It gives Wales a slightly improved chance of winning the championship, up from 24% to 25%, putting them ahead of Ireland. Scotland are predicted to come fourth with a 5% chance of taking the trophy, France fifth with a 1% chance of winning overall, and Italy bring up the rear with zero chance of being crowned champions.

Despite England’s impressive showing, the supercomputer still does not foresee a Grand Slam winner this year, predicting a 61% probability that no team can win all of their fixtures, slightly reduced from 63% last week. However, England’s chances of being Grand Slam champions have improved from 10% to 25% while Wales are given a 13% chance, up from 9% last week.

England have overtaken Ireland as the most likely team to win the Triple Crown with a 34% chance of taking the prize, compared with just 14% before the Dublin win. The QBE Rugby Predictor suggests that the most probable outcome is that no team can remain unbeaten in the battle of the home nations.

The predictions are based on an analysis by QBE Business Insurance actuaries of scores, results, past events and incidents over the last five years using a wide range of variables including the number of tries, kicks and conversions scored by the teams, the caps of each captain, latest world ranking and home/away advantage.


Tournament title
England 58%
Wales 25%
Ireland 11%
Scotland 5%
France 1%
Italy 0%

Grand Slam
None 61%
England 25%
Wales 13%
Scotland 1%
Ireland 0%
France 0%
Italy 0%

Triple Crown
None 50%
England 34%
Wales 14%
Scotland 2%
Ireland 0%


Scotland         17

24          Ireland

Italy                  11

40          Wales

England          30

16          France


Riding high after their Dublin win, England are predicted to have a comfortable win over France at Twickenham with the home side having a huge 81% probability of winning.

Equally, Wales are strong favourites to win big against Italy at the Olympic Stadium in Rome with an anticipated spread of 29 points.

The closest game is predicted to be at Murrayfield where Ireland are expected to beat Scotland with a 67% probability of winning.

For further information and interviews please contact:

Mike Houghton
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7256 8912
Mob: +44 (0) 7789 167009

Angus King-Davies
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7256 8912
Mob: +44 (0) 7972 781891

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About QBE

QBE European Operations is part of QBE Insurance Group, one of the world’s leading international insurers and reinsurers and Standard & Poor’s A+ rated. Listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, QBE’s gross written premium for the year ended 31 December 2017, was US$14.1 billion.
As a business insurance specialist, QBE European Operations offers a range of insurance products from the standard suite of property, casualty and motor to the specialist financial lines, marine and energy. All are tailored to the individual needs of our small, medium and large client base.
We understand the crucial role that effective risk management plays in all organisations and work hard to understand our clients’ businesses so that we offer insurance solutions that meet their needs – from complex programmes to simpler e-trading solutions – and support them in minimising their risk exposures. Our expert risk management and rehabilitation practitioners focus on helping clients improve their risk management so that they may benefit from a reduction in claims frequency and costs.

Your contact

Your contact

Sandra Villanueva

Sandra Villanueva

Head of Media Relations & Content, QBE International