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The aura of Eden Park makes the All Blacks invincible at the Rugby World Cup

07 Oct 2011

While the injury to star playmaker Dan Carter has cast a long dark cloud over New Zealand as the 2011 Rugby World Cup moves into the knock-out phase, statistical analysis provides a brighter horizon for New Zealand rugby fans.

The New Zealand All Blacks will be invincible in the tournament, if the results of previous Tri Nations matches are anything to go by.

Professor Charles Areni, of the University of Sydney Business School, crunched the numbers from all 108 Tri Nations matches and found that the home country advantage was statistically significant.

On home soil, the Australian Wallabies team improve their rate of victory by 46 percent and increase the point spread of the match by 15 points compared to away games.

South Africa's Springboks are remarkably similar, with the home country advantage providing a 47 percent increase in winning percentage and a 15 point increase in point spread.

Ironically, the home country advantage is the smallest for the All Blacks, but this is only because they win more away games than the other two teams. The All Blacks increase their chances of winning by 27 percent and improve their point spread by 9 on home soil, but have won 56 percent of their away games, compared with only 19 percent for the Wallabies and 15 percent for the Springboks.

And if things weren't tough enough for the teams travelling to New Zealand for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the knock-out matches featuring the All Blacks will be played at Auckland's Eden Park, where the team is undefeated in 11 Tri Nations matches.

This means that while the All Blacks already win 83 percent of their home games by an average spread of 12 points, they are even better at Eden Park, winning 100 percent of their matches by an average spread of 14 points.

The All Blacks return to Eden Park this weekend to take on Argentina in the quarter finals, while South Africa come up against an Australia squad featuring current University of Sydney Elite Athlete Program scholarship holder Berrick Barnes in an all-Tri Nations clash in Wellington. The other teams in the last eight are England, France, Ireland and Wales.

If history tends to repeat, says Professor Areni, count on the All Blacks to be crowned champions of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.