Who will win the next Rugby World Cup? While this debate enlivens company coffee breaks and meetings with friends, artificial intelligence has also ventured into the perilous game of predictions.
Concretely, the British company Opta has in fact used its system capable of analyzing a vast quantity of data to predict the results of the final phases of the competition. Various information was taken into account, including the latest results of the teams, the levels of the groups, the scores during the last direct confrontations, or even the results in the World Cup.
France in the final, but…
Opta therefore offers probability scores for winning the World Cup, and unfortunately, France is no longer favorite even though it was at the very start of the event. In detail, the Irish have a 21.4% chance of winning, compared to 20.2% for Antoine Dupont's partners. South Africa and New Zealand complete this duo with 19.1 and 17.1% chances of success.
The AI did not stop there and has also gave his predictions for this weekend's quarter-finals. Overall, she's not taking a big risk watching England beat Fiji. The same goes for Wales which should, according to her, get rid of Argentina.
France would beat the Springboks, while Ireland defeated the All Blacks. Optimistic, Opta believes that France and Ireland will win their respective semi-finals, regardless of their opponent.
Of course, these predictions must be taken with a grain of salt. We can also observe that the probabilities of victory between the teams are very close, and that the competition promises to be extremely close between all these contenders.
Note that in the past, the AI has not has not particularly proven to be very accurate in its predictions. For example, during the last Football World Cup, the machine bet heavily on Brazil and Spain, two nations that were eliminated prematurely.
Similarly, during Euro 2021, the Stats Perform AI bet on selections such as Belgium, Spain, Germany, and even Portugal. In the end, it was Italy who won by beating England.
It is therefore up to the French team to disprove its predictions of defeat, and to bring back in French rugby this Webb Ellis Cup which is still missing from its list of achievements.