The All Blacks are odds on to win another World Cup but their expected dominance is not as great as at the previous two tournaments, a study carried out by investment advisers has predicted.
As the All Blacks prepare to take on Namibia in Tokyo today, a major study completed by Forsyth Barr - a New Zealand-owned firm whose portfolio management and monitoring covers more than $10 billion of clients' investments – has rated Kieran Read's men as tournament front-runners.
The methodology used in coming up with the findings covered five resources; World Rugby rankings to determine head-to-head probabilities of any team beating another, head-to-head probabilities using 23 years of results, past World Cup performances, comparing odds offered by global bookmakers, and a survey of Forsyth Barr's "very astute" staff.
The All Blacks were listed as having a 36 per cent chance of victory, followed by the Springboks (15 per cent), England (14 per cent), Wales (11 per cent), Ireland (9 per cent), the Wallabies (8 per cent) and France (3 per cent).
The formula used by Forsyth Barr has seen it previously correctly pick the All Blacks to win the 2011 and 2015 tournaments.
"On our analysis, New Zealand again comes out on top," the company said.
"However, the gap is significantly lower than in 2011 and 2015."
Prior to the 2011 Rugby World Cup, Forsyth Barr said the All Blacks had a 48 per cent chance of winning, and then a 41 per cent chance four years later.
While the All Blacks had the greatest chance of tournament success according to the Forsyth Barr analysis, their pool-play opponents today, Namibia, are unsurprisingly given the least chance of any of the 20 teams in Japan of success.
The part-timers were rated a 0.008 per cent chance of winning, or 1 in 13,000.
The project also revealed that 75 players at the Rugby World Cup had New Zealand birth certificates (South Africa was next with 45).
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It also highlighted that the All Blacks were placed third in terms of most experience, with the average test caps across the 31-man squad at 39; behind the Wallabies (45) and Georgia (43).
Only Georgia, Argentina and Uruguay have squads with 100 per cent of their World Cup players being born and raised in the countries they are representing.
Last Saturday the Weekend Herald revealed a data project by Melbourne-based Kiwi stats specialist Stefan Yelas had backed the All Blacks to win a historic third World Cup in a row.
The prediction model – which successfully predicted the All Blacks' past two tournament triumphs – backed the Kieran Read-captained team to beat the Springboks in the final on November 2.
The All Blacks were given a 61 per cent likelihood of winning, with the Boks given a 21 per cent chance of victory.
"New Zealanders should be pretty confident we are going to do well at the World Cup," Yelas, director of Octane Research, said.
"The chance of them making a semifinal is almost 100 per cent at this stage. That's pretty good if you are a fan."
The model predicted the All Blacks would beat Scotland in the quarter-finals, before a likely successful semifinal showdown against England.