Tough draw for Poms

The Poms may have had a scintillating day on Saturday at Twickenham – it’s not often a side gets to completely outplay the All Blacks – but they have it fairly tough in terms of rugby draws today …

For some crazy reason – no doubt marketing or financial – the Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool Allocation Draw takes place in London today, more than 2 years before the tournament, using rankings that could be well out of kilter come the actual tournament …

The IRB World Rankings are used to rank the 12 qualified teams for RWC 2015 into three bands for the RWC 2015 Pool Allocation Draw with the sides ranked one to four in band one – thus avoiding each other until the knockout stages – those five to eight in band two and the remaining four in band three.

The latest 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

Meaning the bands will be confirmed as the following:

Band 1: New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, France
Band 2: England, Ireland, Samoa, Argentina
Band 3: Wales, Italy, Tonga, Scotland

Given England’s form against the Boks and All Blacks in the last week, that would be a pretty tough draw for one of the top four sides, and one the Boks will no doubt be hoping to avoid! In band three teams will be hoping to miss out on drawing Italy or Tonga …

No doubt 2 million words on the “Group of death” from websites round the world come 12h05 …

And a little closer to home, PE – seven a side hosts this weekend – got given a pretty rough draw themselves … Most people are talking about the Blitzbokke facing a formidable challenge in the form of Samoa, France and Australia in Pool A.

But New Zealand are the top-ranked side in Pool B which also include Fiji, Scotland England, meaning that one of England, Fiji or New Zealand will not be playing in the Cup on Sunday. That’s pretty ropy from a spectator point of view …

The confirmed pools for PE:

Pool A: Samoa, France, South Africa, Australia
Pool B: New Zealand, Fiji, Scotland, England
Pool C: Kenya, Wales, Argentina, Spain
Pool D: Portugal, Canada, United Stated, Zimbabwe

The log after two rounds:
1. New Zealand – 38 points
2. Fiji, Kenya, Samoa – 32
5. France – 27
6. South Africa – 24
7. Argentina – 21
8. Wales – 18
9. Canada – 17
10. Australia, Portugal – 11
12. England, Spain – 10


A few RWC Pool stats:

  • New Zealand has always finished top of its pool in Rugby World Cup history.
  • Eight other nations have topped a RWC pool – France (five times), South Africa and Australia (four times), England (three times), Wales (twice), Argentina, Ireland and Scotland (once).
  • Australia has never met New Zealand, France or Scotland in the pool stages in Rugby World Cup history.
  • England faces France, Ireland and Wales every year in the RBS Six Nations, but has never met them in the pool stages.
  • Samoa and South Africa have been drawn in the same pool at the last three Rugby World Cups.
  • France has never been drawn in the same pool as Australia, England, Italy, South Africa, Samoa or Wales. By contrast they have faced Scotland three times in the pool stages – in 1987, 1995 and 2003.
  • The hosts and defending champions have been drawn in the same pool on two occasions – England and New Zealand in 1991 and South Africa and Australia in 1995.
  • Ireland has been in the same pool as Australia on three occasions (1999, 2003 and 2011). They have also met the Wallabies twice in the knockout stages.
  • Italy and New Zealand are no strangers to each other in RWC pool stages, having faced each other in five of the seven tournaments to date, the exceptions being 1995 and 2011.
  • The defending champions have never met Australia, Samoa, Scotland or South Africa in the pool stages, but have faced three of the quartet in the knockout stages.
  • South Africa has never faced Argentina, France, Ireland, Italy or New Zealand in a RWC pool match.
  • Tonga has found New Zealand awaiting them in the pool stages on three occasions (1999, 2003 and 2011).
  • Wales and Samoa have been drawn in the same pool on three occasions with the Welsh finally discovering that winning formula in 2011 after losses in 1991 and 1999.
  • Argentina and South Africa have never met in the pool stages of a Rugby World Cup.
  • Scotland has been drawn in the same pool as Romania at the last two Rugby World Cups, but has never met Australia, Samoa or USA at this stage of the tournament.