Six Nations Home Advantage Quantified. During this World Cup cycle, England, Ireland, France and Scotland have all beaten every six nations side at least once. Wales haven’t beaten England since the start of 2016 at this point. However, England will have to face Wales at Principality Stadium in Week 3, and the Six Nations is famous for home advantages having a high influence on the outcome.

This article will quantify how much tougher a Six Nations match gets for Away teams. We will analyze the last four Six Nations tournaments (rather than just the three tournaments in this World Cup cycle) so each nation will have 10 home games and 10 away games.

If England remains undefeated against Wales this year, England will be the only team to remain undefeated against all of their potential Quarter Final opponents for this year’s World Cup since the last World Cup.

England’s potential Quarter Final opponents are Australia and Wales (assuming the Tier 2 nations don’t pull out an upset). England is 6 from 6 against the Wallabies since the start of their 2016 June test series. How the other Tier 1 nations fail to achieve this metric is detailed below:

Nation Potential QF opponents (assuming no upsets) Have been beaten by
Ireland New Zealand and South Africa Both
Scotland New Zealand and South Africa Both
New Zealand Ireland and Scotland Ireland
South Africa Ireland and Scotland Ireland
France Austalia and Wales Both
Argentina Australia and Wales Both
Australia England, France and Argentina England and Argentina
Wales England, France and Argentina England and France

Overall Chart:

Six Nations Home AdvantagesColours (from left to right): Grey for England, Blue for France, Green for Ireland, Sky Blue for Italy, Purple for Scotland and Red for Wales.

Metrics (from left to right): Full-Time Margin is the average amount of points the full-time margin improves with the home advantage. The same logic applies to the Half-Time Margin. Full Time Wins is the number of home wins minus the number of away wins at full-time in the last four tournaments. The same logic applies for Half Time Wins.

Backend and frontend codes I used to develop this can be found here.

Observations

England’s half time margins improve by 7.6 points with the home advantage. But this number only increases to 8.2 for the final score. This shows England gain a lot in the first half by playing at Twickenham but their second-half performances are quite similar for their home and away games.

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France is the complete opposite to England. France’s half time scores improve only by 0.2 points when they are playing at home. However, at the 80-minute mark, their full-time scores for their home games are on average 3.8 points better. Which is reflected by the fact that in the last four tournaments, their win record is 50% higher at home but this is only 20% for the first half.

Ireland is the only team that has remained unbeaten at home across the last four tournaments. Similar to England, Ireland’s first-half performances reflect the home advantage a lot stronger than in the Second Half. Their scores at the 40-minute mark are on average better by 5.6 points at home but this number only increases by 1.5 points at full-time.

Italy actually performs 2.1 points worse in their home games. However, at half time, they perform 6.8 points better. This implies a 9-point “home disadvantage” for Italy in the last 40 minutes. But unfortunately for Italy, their win percentage in the last four tournaments is just 5%. So, I suspect Italy for a lot of their home games “hang-in the game” for the first half and lose the game in the second half. But for many of their away games, Italy hangs in the game for a shorter amount of time. And thus the game is more settled in the Second Half in their away games.

Scotland is the team with the heaviest home advantage. On average, Scotland performs better at home by 14.5 points. Their first-half performances improve by 7.5 points at home and thus this number is 7 points for the second half. Therefore, Scotland receives approximately the same amount of advantage in the first half as they do in the second half.

Wales share a similar to trend with Italy. Wales performs better in the first half in their home games by 9.7 points. This is the largest “first half home advantage” out of the six teams. However, this number decreases to 8.9 points at the 80-minute mark. This implies a 0.8-point “home disadvantage” for the Second Half. With all due respect to Italy, Wales is not a team any side can expect to beat comfortably. So it’s difficult to hypothesise why this trend has arisen for Wales.

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Author: Kaito Goto

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