Teams from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres have engaged each other in battles on the rugby field since 1891 and this weekend that struggle will resume – with six Tests across the United Kingdom, Ireland and Europe.
It elicits and age-old debate: ‘Which hemisphere holds the balance of power?’
Jan De Koning writes for Rugby 365 that there is no doubt that in the early years, in the 19th Century, the men from the north won more games.
However, over the years the power steadily shifted south – with South Africa, New Zealand and Australia winning the majority of the games against their northern rivals.
In the last decade and a bit, since the game went professional, the south have dominated the rugby landscape – with Argentina even joining the party.
We take a look at how the north and south have shaped up over the years – both in the last decade and also for the past 107 years of Test rugby.
In the last 10 years teams from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres have engaged each other in 312 matches. Of those the north won 106 (for a 34 percent winning margin), while the south recorded 202 victories (64.7 percent). There were just four drawn matches.
However, it is when you look at matches played in the Northern Hemisphere and then compare them with matches played in the Southern Hemisphere that you really see the south’s dominance.
They have engaged in battle in 129 matches in the Northern Hemisphere – with the home teams winning 62 (48.1 percent) and the visitors from the south recording 64 victories (49.6 percent).
When the action shifted to the Southern Hemisphere fields that margin increased significantly.
They have played 123 matches in the south, with the southern men winning 99 (80.5 percent) of their home matches and the men from the northern recording just 23 away wins (18.7 percent).
They also played 60 matches at neutral venues, with the south winning 39 (65 percent) of those and the north just 21 (35 percent).
Overall, going back to 1891, the picture looks slightly less bleak for the north, although the balance of power still sits in the south.
They have played 844 matches, with 294 (34.8 percent) victories to the north and 517 (61.3 percent) for the south. There were 33 drawn games.
All matches played in the Northern Hemisphere since 1891 total 351 – with the north managing 141 (40.2 percent) victories and the south 196 (55.8 percent).
Again, the picture looks a lot different for matches played in the Southern Hemisphere – with 398 matches having taken place on southern territory. The north managed just 114 (28.6 percent) victories, while the south recorded 266 (66.8 percent) wins.
And they played 95 matches at neutral venues – with the north getting 39 (41.1 percent) wins and the south again dominant with 55 (57.9 percent) victories.Tweet