Your Quarterly E-Zine
Edition 11 • December 2019

This website contains the latest edition of Forsyth Barr Focus, a quarterly on-line magazine written by senior members of Forsyth Barr's investment team.

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Rugby & markets

For the last eight years, the Webb Ellis Cup has been firmly locked away at 100 Molesworth Street, New Zealand Rugby’s HQ. It resides there along with the Bledisloe Cup and other pieces of silverware the All Blacks have obtained.

However, in September and October, the Webb Ellis Cup will go back on the line again in Japan with the All Blacks attempting to achieve a “three-peat”. Before Rugby World Cup (RWC) 2015 no team had won two successive RWCs.

As part of our build-up to RWC 2019, we have undertaken in-depth analysis of each team, interviewed Sir Graham Henry, Richie McCaw and Francois Pienaar and revisited our RWC Winner Prediction Model. This year’s Tournament will see our Predictor Model tested for the third time. The results so far have been pleasing; in the two Tournaments our Predictor Model has been used, we have correctly determined the winner 100% of the time.

Despite recent hiccups in the lead-up to this year’s Tournament, with a draw against a physically-imposing Springboks side and a painful loss to the Wallabies in Perth, our RWC Prediction Model still regards the All Blacks as the team to beat with the highest probability of being crowned champions in 2019. Besides the All Blacks’ other contenders, our Prediction Model rated with a reasonable chance include:

South Africa:

We predict the RWC Final will be a re-match of the opening game of Pool B with the All Blacks taking on South Africa. The Springboks look like they have finally found the consistency that has been missing in recent years. 2019 saw the Springboks take home their first bit of silverware (the 2019 Rugby Championship) in over ten years. However, no team has won the Rugby Championship/Tri-Nations and RWC in the same year.


After a recent dominating display against Ireland, other challengers would have taken notice of England. Bruising Number 8 Billy Vunipola is arguably the best 8 in the game and is a key man to watch. We believe England will do much better in this Tournament by reaching the Semi-Finals before getting knocked out by the All Blacks. We forecast a good end to the competition though, with England taking home the bronze in the 3rd/4th place playoff.


The team which briefly held the number one ranking in the world, play a very vanilla but effective style of rugby under Kiwi Coach Warren Gatland. Our model predicts the Welsh to make it to the Semi-Finals before getting knocked out by the Springboks. How the Welsh adapt without injured playmaker Gareth Anscombe will be critical to their success at the Tournament.

The Tournament kicks-off on 20 September at 10.45pm NZST with the Japanese Brave Blossoms taking on Russia. The first All Blacks game is against South Africa on 21 September at 9.45pm NZST.


Andy Bowley
Head of Research

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