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All Blacks won’t take the World Cup: Student survey

Twenty-four thousand young people have disconcerting news for the All Blacks – they predict the team will make the Rugby World Cup final, but won’t take the trophy.

The sobering assessment – of which we couldn’t possibly use the word ‘choke’ – has emerged from the online educational survey CensusAtSchool, which ran from May 2-June 10 in schools from Kaitaia to Invercargill, involving students aged 8 to 17.

A total of 83% of the students predicted the All Blacks would make the final on October 23, but just 41% thought they would win.

This is in stark contrast to their parents, who are decidedly more optimistic. A New Zealand Herald/Digipoll survey in January found that 70% of a general sample of adults thought the All Blacks would triumph. A UMR poll in April, which surveyed confirmed adult rugby fans, found 77% confident the All Blacks would win.

“The students’ results were a bit of a surprise,” says CensusAtSchool co-director Rachel Cunliffe, a University of Auckland-trained statistician.

“We had expected that as children and young people are often such ardent rugby fans, they’d be talking the All Blacks right up.” The students’ verdict was also remarkably consistent across geographical areas, age and sex, says Cunliffe.

Of the 83% who think the All Blacks will make the final, 35% are picking South Africa to be the opponent and 30% Australia.

Of the 41% predicting an All Black win, 25% thought there would be a winning margin of under 5 points.

CensusAtSchool is hosted by the Department of Statistics at the University of Auckland in association with Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry of Education. This is the fifth time New Zealand has held CensusAtSchool, which is also run in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Japan, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. The countries share some questions so comparisons can be made, but the rest reflect New Zealand students’ interests.

Students were supervised by their teachers in class as they answered 31 online questions about themselves in English or Māori. Some questions required some practical weighing and measuring skills such as their arm-span measurement and the weight of their schoolbags. Others sought opinions, like their favourite subject and television programme.

“CensusAtSchool is about showing in a practical and real-life way the value of statistics in everyday life,” says Cunliffe. “The data is now being analysed, and will be sent back to schools so students and teachers can analyse it together, which provides more learning opportunities”.

“CensusAtSchool allows students to get a unique view of themselves – and we all get insights into New Zealand childhoods that we couldn’t get in any other way.”

Further CensusAtSchool insights will be released in coming weeks as data is analysed, says Cunliffe.