There’s an intriguing trend emerging in New Zealand’s incarnation of the Super Rugby competition. The Blues beat the Highlanders 27-24 in a tense clash at Eden Park on Saturday, keeping their winning streak alive and leaving them sitting pretty at the top of the Super Rugby table – even if the Crusaders demolish the Chiefs on Sunday.
But the scoreline between the Blues and the Highlanders is interesting – and means Super Rugby Aotearoa predictions are about to get a whole lot more complicated.
While odds did favour the Blues ahead of this weekend’s meeting with the Highlanders, the predicted score margin was far more generous than it turned out to be. Not without reason, of course, considering the form the Blues are in.
However, the average points scored per game between these two sides very nearly reflect the final result from the weekend.
While the average points difference between these two sides has been quite varied as shown by the chart below – the average points overall is quite different.
In all meetings between the Blues and the Highlanders the Blues on average score 26 points per game while the Highlanders average 23.
The three-point difference is some way off the overall points difference average of 13 (which is closer to the Super Rugby Aotera prediction for the match), but this competition, it seems, is turning out to be far tighter than some might have thought.
It’s not the first time this has happened in the New Zealand incarnation of Super Rugby either. The one-point difference between the Highlanders and the Chiefs on the opening weekend repeated the same trend.
Super Rugby Aotearoa: Points difference between Blues vs Highlanders over the years
Whether this trend turns out to be statistically relevant throughout or simply useless but interesting, we’ll have to monitor until the conclusion of the competition.
Antoinette is a recovering journalist, having written for Sports Illustrated, The Guardian, Daily Maverick and others. She has won multiple SAB Journalist of the Year awards, across a variety of categories. She thinks it’s strange writing about herself in the third person, unless she’s playing as herself in The Sims…which she’s been doing for over 20 years.