Home countries vs the Boks

2012-11-14 15:50
Following a lively debate with a patriotic, if rather delusional, Welsh friend of mine over rugby internationals recently, I took it on myself to do a bit of research and put together some stats on the matter.
Now, I have always been of the opinion that stats can be quite deceptive. In fact, I once heard an anecdote that I liked, that went something like the below, and summed up my feelings on the matter quite well.
“Statistics are like a bikini. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital”
The debate with said Welsh mate, centred on a few key points:
That the NH rugby teams were, and always have been close in terms of averages to the SH teams in games won and lost. That home ground advantage has over the years been evenly split and that there is little to no difference or gap between the NH and SH teams over the century of games played.
Delusional I know, but just how delusional I was soon to put down in black and white.
Take a look at the figures below on the Home Nations vs SA in Rugby Union matches, and decide for yourself if these stats are wearing a bikini at all, or if they are bathing kaalgat on Clifton beach.
Stats obtained from
The Home Counties have played the Boks inhome matches an average of 64% of games played.  They have won an average of 34.4%of these games or 22 of the 64 games.
The Boks have played the Home Counties at home an average of 31% of games played. They have won an average of 87.8% of these games or 29 of the 33 games played.
These teams have played at neutral venues an average of 5% of games played. SA has won83.3 % of these games, or 5 of the 6 games.
Eng v SA

Eng have played the Boks at home 51.5 % of their games.
The Boks have played Eng at home 37% of their games.
Eng v Boks have been played at neural venues11.5 % of their games.
Overall – 35 matches, Eng won 12, lost 21, draw 2.
Home - 18 matches, Eng Won 8, Lost 9
Away -13 matches, Eng Won 3, Lost 9
Neutral Venues - 4 matches, Eng Won 1, Lost 3
Wales v SA
Wales have played the Boks at home 61.5 % of their games.
The Boks have played Wales at home 30.5 % of their games.
Wales’s v Boks have been played at neural venues 8 % of their games.
Overall – 26 matches, Wales won 1, lost 24, draw 1.
Home - 16 matches, Wales Won 1, Lost 14, draw 1.
Away - 8 matches, Wales Won 0, Lost 8
Neutral Venues - 2 matches, Wales Won 0, Lost 2.
Scotland v SA
Scotland has played the Boks at home 76 % of their games.
The Boks have played Scotland at home 24 % of their games.
No Neutral Venues.
Overall – 21 matches, Scotland won 5, lost 16, draw 0.
Home - 16 matches, Scotland Won 5, Lost 11, draw 0.
Away - 5 matches, Scotland Won 0, Lost 5
Ireland v SA
Ireland has played the Boks at home 67 % of their games.
The Boks have played Ireland at home 34 % of their games.
No Neutral Venues
Overall – 21 matches, Ireland won 4, lost 16, draw 1.
Home - 14 matches, Ireland Won 4, Lost 9, draw 1.
Away - 7 matches, Ireland Won 0, Lost 7

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