Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Save the English!

After a loss to Australia this past weekend England lost a position in the International Rugby Board world rankings. It is not that serious, except that the now number 4 team is Argentina. I am sure there are very few people who don’t know that Argentina loves football, or who don’t know who Diego Maradona is. Argentina is not however, know as a world power in Rugby Union.

The normal situation in world rugby is that you have the five “big” Northern hemisphere teams, and the three actual big Southern hemisphere teams. They are known as the (previously) Five Nations and now the Six Nations, and SANZAR or the Tri Nations respectively. There has been a traditional battle between the two groups with the South generally accepted as historically stronger. In the North there is usually one strong team at a time and at times two or three. Traditionally England and France are the two strong teams. The three teams in the South however, had always been strong and dangerous at the very least.

Argentina had always been a team to be ware of, but they were never a force in world rugby accept for a few spurts. Whether their current form can be classified as a spurt is still to be seen.

What is nice is about England dropping down is that, instead of just the first three spots, the South now occupies the first four. Fiji is down there as well. For a country with no money, few people, and who plays the 7s version more often than the full version, tenth place is quite amazing.

IRB World Rankings:

1. New Zealand 
2. South Africa
3. Australia
4. Argentina
5. England
6. France
7. Wales 
8. Ireland 
9. Scotland 
10. Fiji

92.41 rating points

Just in case you were wondering, Italy is the sixth Northern nation and was only recently knocked down to eleventh. Other teams that might be of interest to people in Korea find themselves in these positions:

19. USA


The points might make it seem that here isn’t that big a difference between, say, China and South Africa, but I would not be surprised if a very strong SA high school team, or a under 23 provincial team at the very least, taught China a few lessons about the game.

Maybe the current situation will give Argentina more ammunition to become part of the Tri-Nation. I wonder if it will then be called the Square Nations.

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