A sobering prediction for this year’s Rugby World Cup has the All Blacks making the final but losing at the last hurdle.
And that’s come from a group of armchair experts not normally known for their pessimism.
A survey has found that 24,000 schoolchildren predict an All Blacks v South Africa final – but believe the South Africans will lift the Webb Ellis trophy at the final whistle.
The CensusAtSchool survey, which ran from May 2 – June 10 in schools from Kaitaia to Invercargill, involved students aged 8 to 17.
Of the 83% of the students who predicted the All Blacks would make the final on October 23, just 41% thought they would win.
CensusAtSchool co-director Rachel Cunliffe, a University of Auckland-trained statistician, said the students’ results were a bit of a surprise.
“We had expected that as children and young people are often such ardent rugby fans, they’d be talking the All Blacks right up,” she said.
The students’ verdict was also remarkably consistent across geographical areas, age and sex, said Cunliffe.
Of those 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 Blacks win, 25% thought there would be a winning margin of under five points.
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.