Well well well. Finally. This fixture has been long awaited. England last met the All Blacks back in 2014 at Twickenham, and lost 21-24. Since then much has happened. England rose to second in the world, winning 18 times in a row – equalling New Zealand’s record – and then regressed, losing 6 games in a row and finishing in their lowest ever position in the Six Nations (5th). The match may not be quite the clash of the titans that it would have been a year ago, but still has plenty to get our teeth into.
[Post publishing edit: After the team announcements the prediction has moved to New Zealand by 9.]
England have faced the All Blacks 40 times, losing 32 of them and one draw. England’s best run against the Kiwis was 2002-2003 when they beat them twice in a row, both home and away. Since then however, New Zealand dominance has been near complete, winning 14 of the 15 matches played between the two, with England’s only win being that memorable day at Twickenham in 2012 when Manu Tuilagi ran amok and England won 38 – 21. This 17 point winning margin is England’s biggest victory by a considerable distance.
This dominance is reflected in the rankings, with New Zealand usually being comfortably ahead of the English, aside from the English World Cup win back in 2003. In the last couple of years, under Jones, England have risen considerably, and now are as close as they have been to the All Blacks in nearly 15 years.
So what does this mean? Well, unfortunately for the English, our Algorithm still predicts a 10 point loss. However, this doesn’t mean hope is lost, with current projections giving England just under a 1 in 4 chance of victory. For England to win though, they are likely to need to score. And score heavily. Our model predicts that for England to have a 50% chance of victory they need to score around 33 points. For New Zealand to have the same chance they need to score just 22 points.
Worringly for English fans though, in the last year they have scored on average just 18 points at home against Tier 1 nations (incredibly in this calendar year, that figure is just 13 points). New Zealand, on the other hand, have averaged 33 playing away from home against T1 nations.
However, despite these dismal numbers, England are a difficult side to put away (evidenced against South Africa last week). As can be seen above in their New Zealand history, the losses are rarely by more than 10 points, even when they have faced more insurmountable probabilities. Despite the numbers shown by The Algorithm, we feel that England will be in with a shout with 20 minutes to go. If they can live with the All Blacks in those last 20 minutes, they will have every chance of another famous Twickenham victory. A truly salivating prospect. Bring it on.