So here we are staring down the barrel of the final two weeks. Given each team only has a couple of games left, practically speaking there are only a few realistic outcomes left that can affect who can take the title.
So here’s a quick rundown of who needs to do what to whom in order to win the 2018 Six Nations.
Ireland, England and Scotland are the only ones with realistic chances, although Scotland’s is very small. Mathematically Wales and France can also do it, but we make Wales’ chances to be around 0.3% and France, even less than that.
Currently the standings are as follows.
Ireland are 5 points ahead of England, and 6 ahead of Scotland with 2 games to play.
The remaining fixtures are:
Ireland have Scotland (H) and England (A).
England have France (A) and Ireland (H).
Scotland have Ireland (A) and Italy (A).
Wales have Italy (H) and France (H).
If Ireland beat Scotland and England…
They will win the title and the Grand Slam. We give them a 22% chance of winning these two games and taking what would be only their third Grand Slam ever in either the Five or Six Nations.
However, it is more likely that Ireland will lose in Twickenham. England have a strong record at home, especially in the Six Nations, having not lost a home match in the tournament since 2012. We give Ireland around a 30% chance of victory in Twickenham.
Under these circumstances, England beating Ireland and both teams ending on four wins, bonus points (BP) will be important. A bonus point is obtained by scoring four tries or more, or being within seven points of the opposition if losing.
If Ireland BP win Scotland…
England will need to BP win France and Ireland AND overcome the points difference, which we think is likely to be around 32 points. For example England would need to beat Ireland by 17 points i.e. 37-20 (as any points difference for England would detract from Ireland’s)
If England fail to get a BP win in either match the title is Ireland’s.
If Ireland don’t BP win Scotland and England BP win France…
Then a BP win for England over Ireland would see England take the title,
A normal win and overcoming the points difference would see England take the title. Realistically, this would probably still amount to a BP win due to the large points difference.
England will likely need to BP win both France and Ireland to win, but…
A BP win for Ireland against Scotland will give them a very strong chance of winning the title, due to the points difference likely being too great for England to practically overcome.
If England lose to France and Ireland beat Scotland, then the title is Ireland’s.
If Ireland lose to Scotland, and England beat France then the title chances swing back in England’s favour, roughly 70:30.
For Scotland to win the title the most likely route is…
Beating Ireland in Dublin,
a BP win against Italy in Rome,
France beating England in Paris,
England beating Ireland in Twickenham.
We give this a 3% chance of happening.
For Wales to win the title the most likely route is…
They require BP wins over both Italy and France,
Scotland to beat Ireland,
France to beat England,
England to beat Ireland.
Some jiggery pokery with the points difference or losing bonus points to ensure that they are ahead of Ireland. Bonus point wins over Italy and France, and Ireland losing to Scotland and England should be enough, but not in every situation.
This has around a 0.3% chance of happening
Interestingly in this particular situation, Scotland would have four wins (assuming they beat Italy), with England, Ireland and Wales on three, but Wales would win and Scotland would likely finish third due to bonus points. A real kick in the teeth for the Scots.
Below is the most likely finishing table come the end of the final weekend.
Let us know your thoughts, or if you want any other scenarios run. And if you like this kind of stuff, follow us on Twitter and other social media (@Rugby4Cast) to get similar infographics and a live feed from our brains.