Saturday, December 1, 2012

IRB and Argentina saved by the Wallabies

Photo: UAR Martin Seras Lima
Arg v Irl will not happen in 2015
Last weekends disastrous result in Dublin has had no real consequences for Argentine rugby. There have been no noises coming out from the UAR in regard to the coaching and nor has there been any consequences for Los Pumas with Rugby World Cup 2015 in mind. The South Americas heavy loss against the lower ranked Ireland saw Argentina drop a significant amount of rankings points and it put Argentina level on 78,71 points with Samoa. To talk down the controversy the IRB declared that Samoa weas ranked higher due to having 15 more decimal points than Argentina. It came after nothing of the sort had been mentioned in previously of the numerous previews thruoghout the November Internationals. While Samoa is indeed ranked ahead it came as a surprize to many and cast a shadow over the ability of the IRB World Rankigns to seed teams. 

Today´s match at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff was key. A draw or a Welsh victory would see Wales qualify in Band B ahead of both Argentina and Samoa with the Samoans holding eighth position due to a loophole in the rankings system. Thankfully for the sake of England 2015 the teams in the Bands are not there based on a techinicality as Argentina and Samoa are both ranked ahead of four automatic qualifiers from Rugby World Cup. Wales drop outside of Band 2 to join Italy, Scotland, and Tonga. It has significant implications for the tournament. There are a host of possibilities and there will be at least one Pool of Death. Los Pumas could be drawn together with Americas 1 and Americas 2 to have Argentina, Canada and the USA all in the same pool. Similarly, Samoa could be drawn with both Tonga and Fiji (Oceania 1) while there could be an all European pool with pre-qualified teams from Band 1 (France), Band 2 (England or Ireland), Band 3 (Italy, Scotland or Wales) and the two yet to be European sides which are likely to be Georgia and Romania. The draw will take place on Monday in London.

It also means that there will be no rematch of the Argentina v Ireland classic from the last two Rugby World Cup´s in Europe. With both nations to be drawn in Band 2 their only chance of facing each other is in the knock-out stages. Argentina, however, has a 75% chance of facing a team from The Rugby Championship in the Pool stage and a 25% chance of facing 2007 rivals France. The possibility exists for an all Latin set-up as Argentina, France and Italy could all be in the same pool. they could be joined by two other Latin sides including Portugal, Romania, Spain, Chile or Uruguay.

Wales´s home loss against Australia took place at the same time as New Zealand´s first loss of the year. The All Blacks were put to the sword by England at Twickenham. The result, however will see no change in the IRB World Rankings but it does set the marker as England being the Band 2 side to avoid in the draw for Rugby World Cup 2015. England will likely open the tournament against a Band 3 side but could do so against a Band 1 side. In 2007 France faced Argentina (Band 3) and in 2011 New Zealand faced Tonga (Band 3). Should it continue then it would see an all-European match to open a Rugby World Cup for the first time ever. Argentina´s record of opening three Rugby World Cup´s is likely to continue. 

Updated IRB World Rankings
1 New Zealand 90.08
2 South Africa 86,94
3 Australia 86.87
4 France 85,07
5 England 83,90
6 Ireland 80,22
7 Samoa 78,71
8 Argentina 78,71
9 Wales 78.39
10 Italy 76.24
11 Tonga 76.10
12 Scotland 75.83 

Band 1
Band 2
Band 3

England v New Zealand

Wales v Australia

1 comment:

  1. Sorry Paul, but I don't see where your coming from on this one.

    There was no controversy made about this rankings being tied issue, and I doubt the IRB would be care about Wales staying in the top 8 had they beaten Australia.

    The rankings weren't technically tied anyway, Samoa were a minute margin ahead, so the IRB in declaring the simple point that one team with higher points is ranked higher have said what the criteria is for sorting teams. It's hardly an unfair criteria, and nobody has really cared about it. Rankings had been tied and sorted this way before just nobody noticed as nothing was riding on them, there are examples of tied rankings lower down in the rankings as well.

    The IRB should be more concerned about the farcical IRB player of the year nominations that included Owen Farrell on the shortlist ahead of the likes of Lydiate, Read and Fernández Lobbe.