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Post by robbo277 on Sun 11 Aug 2019, 5:12 pm

With the World Cup still a few weeks away, it's nice to try and apply some context to the week's matches.

When the official rankings come out on Monday, New Zealand will be top with 89.04, Wales will be second with 88.89 then Ireland (88.69), England (87.34), South Africa (86.83) and Australia (84.41).

Ireland don't play next week and South Africa play Argentina at home next week. Argentina are ranked so low now that a win would not allow South Africa up the rankings, and they can only lose points if they fail to win. The other two games of note are NZ at home to Australia and Wales at home to England.

There's a miniscule gap between NZ and Wales, and as Wales are playing a higher ranked team, any Wales win will see them officially ranked number 1 in the published rankings. Conversely if England beat Wales by 16+ points, England will be ranked number 1. Both these outcomes exist outside of NZ's sphere of influence.

If NZ beat Australia they'll be on 89.28 points. If they thrash Australia, they'll be on 89.40 points.

A Wales win would take them up to 89.43 points and a thrashing of England would take them to 89.71. Either of these would be more than NZ could muster against Australia.

An England win would see England up to 88.79, which is less than NZ after any kiwi win. However, an England thrashing of Wales would see them up to 89.52, and therefore above anything NZ could achieve.

England could also top the rankings with any win, if NZ fail to win against Australia. A draw against Australia would see NZ drop to 88.28 points and a loss would see them fall further. A narrow England win and an NZ draw or loss would see England top the rankings therefore.

The eagle-eyed amongst you might have noticed that "NZ fail to win - 88.28" would see NZ drop below Ireland, who would therefore rise to second. Ireland could even top the rankings if Wales and England then drew, as England would take enough points from Wales to drag them below Ireland but not enough to themselves get above Ireland.

If NZ lose at home to Australia, they would drop to third with a Wales win or 4th with a draw or an England win. If they suffered a second successive thrashing, they'd fall to 6th below Australia and South Africa. You can file that last scenario in "unlikely", but that would probably be their worst ever position.

Below the top 6 you've got Scotland and France in 7th and 8th. The winner of their game will be ranked higher at the end of the week, although neither can catch the top 6 or drop below those below them.

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Post by maestegmafia on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 7:26 am

Good work on the calculations Robbo..! It certainly is interesting as any of a number of teams could now be ranked top of the pile going into this RWC, though I think we all know that not every team has played their final hand, that many will not really show their full strength until it counts.

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Post by Poorfour on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 7:30 am

Thabks for working that through. It shows how close the teams are going into the RWC - though there is quite a lot of powder still being kept dry at this stage. I don't think we have seen any of the teams at full strength and readiness yet.

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Post by Taylorman on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 8:55 am

Just shows what can happen when NZ drop their standards... the vultures are circling. Yahoo

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Post by hugehandoff on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 9:01 am

Interesting that NZ are not clear on important positions such as 10 and 15. Add in a backrow that does not frighten the rest of the world and it brings NZ closer to the chasing pack. Hopefully a Northern Hemisphere team can take the win this time. 3 in a row would be just plain greedy.

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Post by TightHEAD on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 9:45 am

NZ need to hit the panic button and sack Hanson now.
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Post by robbo277 on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 10:05 am

Taylorman wrote:Just shows what can happen when NZ drop their standards... the vultures are circling. Yahoo

Yep. You look at the rankings a couple of years back (14th August 2017 is the date I chose) and New Zealand were on 94.78, England on 90.14 and Ireland on 85.39 in third.

It's not that another team has got to that 94-95 mark, just NZ are no longer head and shoulders better than anyone. Doesn't mean they won't win the World Cup, but does suggest it may be tighter.

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Post by Poorfour on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 10:41 am

hugehandoff wrote:Interesting that NZ are not clear on important positions such as 10 and 15. Add in a backrow that does not frighten the rest of the world and it brings NZ closer to the chasing pack. Hopefully a Northern Hemisphere team can take the win this time. 3 in a row would be just plain greedy.  

I think an equally large problem is Retallick being injured - if you look at NZ's losses in this RWC cycle, nearly all of them have come with him off the field. They rely heavily on carrying from their locks to get front foot ball, and without him they are too easily stopped on the gainline.

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Post by Taylorman on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 11:11 am

Poorfour wrote:
hugehandoff wrote:Interesting that NZ are not clear on important positions such as 10 and 15. Add in a backrow that does not frighten the rest of the world and it brings NZ closer to the chasing pack. Hopefully a Northern Hemisphere team can take the win this time. 3 in a row would be just plain greedy.  

I think an equally large problem is Retallick being injured - if you look at NZ's losses in this RWC cycle, nearly all of them have come with him off the field. They rely heavily on carrying from their locks to get front foot ball, and without him they are too easily stopped on the gainline.

The Mo’unga experiment stems from Hansen wanting to play Damian McKenzie at 10 and 15 at this World Cup. That’s his way of trying to negate the rush defence more— by having two playmakers to mix things up across the park. When Dmac went down and out he dropped the idea until Mo’unga showed a very high consistency for the Crusaders. So he’s trialled that last two matches, without success.

Logic is he’ll drop it and revert to tried and true for Eden park. Barrett back to 10, mo’unga to bench.

Given that leaves Barrett under pressure as the only playmaker he might just decide to back Mo’unga after all.

That would be a big call. A clearly flawed setup sees the Bledisloe Cup go west.

For me you need your best possible ten at ten at a World Cup and Mo’unga hasn’t had the matchplay at ten let alone take up a tandem playmaker role.

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Post by poissonrouge on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 6:08 pm

Gets even moer interesting if you factor in the fact that England play Ireland a week later - an Ireland win puts them in first place regardless of other results.
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Post by robbo277 on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 7:24 pm

poissonrouge wrote:Gets even moer interesting if you factor in the fact that England play Ireland a week later - an Ireland win puts them in first place regardless of other results.

I only did one week at a time, or the permutations would get quite messy.

But yes, even if NZ take maximum points of Australia and Wales take maximum points off England, any Ireland win would see them go top.

From an England perspective, any win against Wales coupled with any win against Ireland would take England top, regardless of NZ results.

So unless a draw comes into play, NZ are losing top spot either this week with a Wales win or next week with either an Ireland win or England completing consecutive wins. The only thing that could save NZ's ranking would be if:

Wales vs England finishes in a draw and England beat Ireland
OR
England beat Wales and England vs Ireland finishes a draw

As New Zealand's last warm-up game is against Tonga, they won't be able to further impact their ranking before the World Cup.

Looking at the entire run of fixtures then:

If Wales vs England, England vs Ireland, Wales vs Ireland and Ireland vs Wales all go with the home team and no team takes a 16+ point win, then NZ will go into the tournament ranked number 1.

For Wales, they need to win their home games and draw or win their away game against Ireland. Or lose to England and beat Ireland in both tests.

For Ireland, they need to win their home game and either win one of their away games or draw both.

For England, they need to win both their games and hope neither Wales nor Ireland win back to back tests.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 8:29 pm

Maybe no one wants the number 1 position. What happens then?

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Post by Taylorman on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 8:33 pm

Collapse2005 wrote:Maybe no one wants the number 1 position. What happens then?

Its been like that for a decade or so, so we look after it until someone bothers. thumbsup

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Post by poissonrouge on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 8:43 pm

To be honest - world ranking going into World Cup means little as whoever wins World Cup will be no 1 as the top places are so close. Would take a lot of calculation to definitely prove it, but double points for WC wins means that prob anyone in top 6 - maybe even 8 would be top
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Post by maestegmafia on Mon 12 Aug 2019, 10:36 pm

Definitely demonstrates how tight it is at the top. And all teams have ares to improve in the next month.

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Post by tigertattie on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 10:58 am

poissonrouge wrote:To be honest - world ranking going into World Cup means little as whoever wins World Cup will be no 1 as the top places are so close. Would take a lot of calculation to definitely prove it, but double points for WC wins means that prob anyone in top 6 - maybe even 8 would be top

So When Scotland win the World Cup Final we'll go to Number one in the ranking too!

Thats just win win Yahoo
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Post by robbo277 on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 1:08 pm

poissonrouge wrote:To be honest - world ranking going into World Cup means little as whoever wins World Cup will be no 1 as the top places are so close. Would take a lot of calculation to definitely prove it, but double points for WC wins means that prob anyone in top 6 - maybe even 8 would be top

Yes, all the points should funnel to the eventual winner.

E.g. if all 8 quarter-finalists were evenly ranked on 80 points, all games were close and no-one had home advantage, by the end of the tournament:

Winner: 86 points
Runner up: 82 points
Third placed: 82 points
4th placed: 78 points
Losing quarter-finalists: 78 points

If you start the QFs as a lower ranked team although you have further to climb, you can win more points each game. E.g. if NZ (89.04) played Scotland (80.17) in the World Cup quarter-final now and Scotland won, they'd gain closer to 4 points, as opposed to the 2 points you'd gain for beating someone evenly ranked in the World Cup. So Scotland would finish that match around 84 and NZ would be down around 85.2, which is a huge swing.

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Post by maestegmafia Yesterday at 7:44 am


As the WR Rankings stand today before this last weekends matches. I guess France will rise for beating a team above them.

1 (1)NZL 89.04

2 (2)WAL 88.89

3 (3)IRE 88.69

4 (5) ENG 87.34

5 (4) RSA 86.83

6 (6) AUS 84.41

7 (7) SCO 80.17

8 (8) FRA 79.42

9 (11) JPN 77.21

10 (9) FIJ 76.98

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Post by LondonTiger Yesterday at 9:06 am

1(↑2)Wales89.43(+0.55)
2(↓1)New Zealand89.40(+0.35)
3Ireland88.69
4(↑5)South Africa86.83
5(↓4)England86.79(-0.55)
6Australia84.05(-0.35)
7(↑8)France80.58(+1.16)
8(↓7)Scotland79.01(-1.16)
9Japan77.21
10Fiji76.98
11Argentina76.29
12Georgia74.42
13Italy72.04
14USA71.93
15Tonga71.49
16Samoa69.08
17Spain68.15
18Romania66.69
19Uruguay65.18
20Russia64.81

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Post by Collapse2005 Yesterday at 9:09 am

Big enough between the top three and 4th and 5th.

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Post by LondonTiger Yesterday at 9:12 am

Any win for Ireland on Saturday would see them go to No1. 

Any win for England moves them to 4th and sees Ireland fall to almost 2 points lower than NZ. 

A big win for England sees England go 3rd and Ireland drop to 4th.

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Post by Collapse2005 Yesterday at 9:22 am

I predict an England win especially in Twickers.

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Post by tigertattie Yesterday at 9:31 am

What do Scotland need to do to get to No 1?
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Post by LondonTiger Yesterday at 9:42 am

tigertattie wrote:What do Scotland need to do to get to No 1?

oh yeah

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Post by robbo277 Yesterday at 9:49 am

tigertattie wrote:What do Scotland need to do to get to No 1?

Beat France and convince the top 6 to withdraw from World Rugby.

Any Scotland win will see them back above France. Even the biggest win wouldn't see them catch 6th, even the biggest loss wouldn't see them fall below Japan in 9th.

England can't get to number 1 before the World Cup starts - there is no permutation of results that would see them there. The best they can manage is third, unless New Zealand lose to Tonga. As LT said, a big win will see us third, a narrow win 4th. A draw or any loss we stay 5th but fall further off the pace.

Just the two games this week makes it much simpler to analyse the possibilities.


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Post by tigertattie Yesterday at 10:02 am

Maybe World Rugby will do the following:

A: Ban NZ for cheating
B: Ban SA for "poisoning" NZ in 95
C: Ban Wales for playing Gatlandball
D: Ban Oz for religious intollerence
E: Ban Ireland because of Sexton's ref moaning/arm waving
F: Ban England because of the dude who wears the St George's Flag as a long coat
G: Ban France for their Cest la vie approach to international rugby

Then we'd be top and could win the World Cup (not if Argentina and Japan have anything to say about it)
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Post by SecretFly Yesterday at 10:37 am

Ban Scotland! ..... for beating the bejaysus out of that poor Dark Horse over the years. Animal cruelty!

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Post by tigertattie Yesterday at 12:57 pm

SecretFly wrote:Ban Scotland!  ..... for beating the bejaysus out of that poor Dark Horse over the years.  Animal cruelty!

See, I dont even think we can class ourselves as "Dark Horses" anymore. We're just rank ousiders who every now and then have a decent run when the other horses are a bit meh!

We're not even the world elephant polo champions anymore Crying or Very sad
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Post by maestegmafia Yesterday at 9:12 pm

tigertattie wrote:
SecretFly wrote:Ban Scotland!  ..... for beating the bejaysus out of that poor Dark Horse over the years.  Animal cruelty!

See, I dont even think we can class ourselves as "Dark Horses" anymore. We're just rank ousiders who every now and then have a decent run when the other horses are a bit meh!

We're not even the world elephant polo champions anymore Crying or Very sad

France were dramatically improved on their six nations form. They could well top their pool. C is starting to look like the toughest pool to get out of.


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Post by quinsforever Yesterday at 9:58 pm

didnt see either Eng-Wal game, just read the reports. Family holidays dont go well with RWC warm-ups... Sad

however would just like to say that i think Wales fully deserve their time at number 1. There is little to separate the top several teams at the moment IMO, and Wales have just been that bit more consistent. Magic welsh rugby of the 70s and 80s it is not. But blame that on the way the game has gone, not Wales.

looking forwards to Japan!

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Post by Collapse2005 Yesterday at 10:14 pm

maestegmafia wrote:
tigertattie wrote:
SecretFly wrote:Ban Scotland!  ..... for beating the bejaysus out of that poor Dark Horse over the years.  Animal cruelty!

See, I dont even think we can class ourselves as "Dark Horses" anymore. We're just rank ousiders who every now and then have a decent run when the other horses are a bit meh!

We're not even the world elephant polo champions anymore Crying or Very sad

France were dramatically improved on their six nations form. They could well top their pool. C is starting to look like the toughest pool to get out of.


I doubt it very much. France have been very poor for years now. It would take more than a world cup warm up win over Scotland to convince me otherwise.

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Post by maestegmafia Yesterday at 10:53 pm

Collapse2005 wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:
tigertattie wrote:
SecretFly wrote:Ban Scotland!  ..... for beating the bejaysus out of that poor Dark Horse over the years.  Animal cruelty!

See, I dont even think we can class ourselves as "Dark Horses" anymore. We're just rank ousiders who every now and then have a decent run when the other horses are a bit meh!

We're not even the world elephant polo champions anymore Crying or Very sad

France were dramatically improved on their six nations form. They could well top their pool. C is starting to look like the toughest pool to get out of.


I doubt it very much. France have been very poor for years now. It would take more than a world cup warm up win over Scotland to convince me otherwise.

It’s only once every four years that the squad in France get some decent time to train together. There were plenty of signs of their ability, but floored silly mistakes.

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Post by mikey_dragon Today at 2:02 am

Pool C might not be the toughest but it is starting to look like the most physical.

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Post by maestegmafia Today at 7:15 am

mikey_dragon wrote:Pool C might not be the toughest but it is starting to look like the most physical.
we know Argentina and England have the ability to top the group but France have been showing their potential in fits and spats all year. This should be a hell of a pool to watch. So little between the top teams.

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