IRB rankings make little sense

2014-10-08 11:27
Cape Town - The IRB world ranking system has to be the worst - or at best, most confusing - in all of sport...

READ: IRB ranking explanation

According to the Stuff website, the All Blacks were unbeaten for 22 Test matches in a row (until their two-point loss to the Springboks at Ellis Park last Saturday).

They're the world champions and still on a 36 Test match winning streak at home since 2009. They're streets ahead of the competition, right?

Well, not exactly, according to the latest IRB rankings.

After their 27-25 loss last Saturday, the All Blacks' lead at the top of the official rankings has been cut to 2.19 points (from 4.48).

The All Blacks have won 90 percent of their matches since 2010 and have 92.60 points on the IRB scorecard.

By comparison, the Springboks have won only 68 percent of their matches over the same period, but have 90.41 points in the latest rankings.

How can this be?

The IRB awards points for its rankings game by game. It's very complicated, but basically, the system is designed that it's tough for the top team to extend their lead when winning, but easier for it to fall back when it loses.

A win over a higher ranked team is worth more points. A win over a lower ranked team is worth less - sometimes much less.

By way of example, in June this year, the Wallabies beat France three times in a row but gained only 0.06 points in the rankings.

However, A single win over higher-ranked South Africa in Perth last month boosted Australia's tally by 0.91 points.

This makes it difficult for the All Blacks, because there has been no team ranked above them since November 2009.

Two Rugby Championship wins over Argentina and one each over Australia and South Africa this year boosted New Zealand's ranking by only 0.33 points.

The All Blacks' 14-10 win over the Springboks in Wellington was worth 0.19, but when the Springboks beat the All Blacks in Johannesburg last weekend, it lifted South Africa's total by a whopping 1.14 points, and dropped the All Blacks' total by 1.15!

The current IRB ranking process CLEARLY requires urgent revision!

Read more on:    irb  |  rugby

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