As the World Rugby ranking algorithm seems to be at best “complicated” I thought I’d come up with a way of ranking the Rugby World Cup teams based on their most recent performance –
- Australia (there may have been a Scott Barrett brain fart involved but that’s the most points New Zealand have ever conceded)
- South Africa (winning away by 33 points is mighty impressive)
- England (winning at a canter with most of the stars on the bench has to be a positive)
- Ireland (5 tries in a 19 point win with only 1 first choice forward starting deserves plenty of respect)
- Japan (they beat a USA team but who had made a few changes by 14 points and they had made several changes too including positional switches)
- Fiji (held Samoa to 3 points without Tuisova, Yato or Murimurivalu in the starting XV)
- New Zealand (obviously still RWC favourites, but in terms of recency there’s not many positives in a 21 point drubbing)
- Wales (lost by 14 points at Twickenham which is pretty normal stuff but lost the Grand Slam winning 10 who brings the calm and confidence to the whole squad)
- Samoa (lost to Fiji’s changed team but only by 7 points)
- Argentina (Los Jaguares exploits in Super Rugby seem to be kicking in now and Nicholas Sanchez seems to be Ledesma’s Emperor’s New Clothes)
- Italy (picked a bit of a mish mash backline but losing by 19 to an underpowered Ireland seems cause for concern)
- USA (lost by 14 points to Japan but they’re trying to blend some new players and integrate 2 of the successful 7’s squad into the 15’s set up)
- Tonga (they made a few changes and actually won but they conspired to concede 23 points against Canada who hadn’t scored more than 20 points in a Pacific Nations Cup game since 2014)
- Canada (its a mystery how Kingsley Jones gets so little out of that squad).
Russia, France, Scotland, Namibia, Georgia and Uruguay all avoided games this week and therefore any unnecessary (see also heart breaking) injuries.