Vincent Hogan and Patrick Massey

This paper analyzes teams’ responses to rule changes designed to encourage more entertaining play in Rugby Union’s Six Nations Championship using a data set of all scores in the competition since its inception in 1883. We find that increasing the value of scoring a try leads to more tries per match, and that this effect increases over time. We also find evidence that teams may be prepared to concede penalties, which are worth fewer points in order to prevent more costly tries. The switch to a winner-take-all format in 1994 and the introduction of professionalism in 1995 also led to more...Read more