2017 EOTY Rankings v 2018 International Competitions

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NEW YORK, NY – The Rugby Rain Man Society is fascinated with stats. This early in the year, with 2018’s first international competitions on the immediate horizon, 2017’s stats lend their predictive powers to help us pundits look at the matches ahead despite the lack of match material to work with. World Rugby’s end of the year rankings, in particular, are important going into 2018’s internationals because of their emphasis on November and December’s international tests, even if the rankings changed only incrementally. That said, let’s look at the 2017 end of the year rankings and how they will play in 2018’s early internationals.

World Rugby Rankings (as of rankings as of 25 December 2017):

1. New Zealand 93.99
2. England 90.87
3. Ireland 86.39
4. Australia 85.49
5. South Africa 84.90
6. Scotland 83.81
7. Wales 82.08
8. Argentina 78.22
9. France 78.09
10. Fiji 77.93
11. Japan 75.66
12. Georgia 73.46
13. Tonga 71.87
14. Italy 71.25
15. Romania 69.58
16. Samoa 69.03
17. USA 66.87
18. Uruguay 65.63
19. Russia 64.45
20. Spain 61.68

Here is the list of World Rugby’s top 20 sides at the moment.  One of the first things to notice is the placement of Scotland, higher than they have been in over a decade. On the other end of the spectrum, Canada has dropped out of the top 20 and Italy is ranked lower than four, yes four, Tier 2 nations. Now, what do these rankings mean for the upcoming year in each major international competition?

6 Nations:
2. England 90.87
3. Ireland 86.39
6. Scotland 84.11
7. Wales 80.98
9. France 78.09
14. Italy 71.25

Average Ranking: 7th
Average Ranking Points: 81.95
Competition Ranking: 2nd

This maybe the tightest 6 Nations since the competition went from five to six nations in 2000. The Italians are stinking up the joint and keep providing more ammunition for those that want promotion-relegation or a proper 12 nation European Cup. However, when you consider the rivalry between the nations, it is tough to predict who will come out ahead. Scotland were very competitive last season and their two loses were on the road to France and England; this year they get them home so who knows what can happen. Ireland plays Scotland at the Aviva, but must tak;e on England at Twickenham. France won’t have the joy of Scotland at home and have to go on the road against England. It is very possible that a 3-2 record with point differential or bonus points will decide the tournament winner.

The Rugby Championship:
1. New Zealand 93.99
4. Australia 85.49
5. South Africa 84.90
8. Argentina 78.22

Average Ranking: 4th
Average Ranking Points: 85.65
Competition Ranking: 1st

The Rugby Championship still remains the New Zealand Invitational. Even so it is still impressive that all 4 teams rank in the top 8. It speaks volumes to the Southern Hemispheric  dominance we have seen in World Cups and the seasonal Tours. This season looks like the last few seasons in that Australia will finish second or third. South Africa are good for second or fourth depending on their matches against the Wallabies, and Argentina still are unlikely to climb out of the basement.

Rugby Europe Championship:

12. Georgia 73.46
15. Romania 69.58
19. Russia 64.45
20. Spain 61.68
25. Portugal 57.79
26. Germany 56.53

Average Ranking: 20th
Average Ranking Points: 63.91
Competition Ranking: 3rd

The last few REC’s have been a two team battle between Georgia and Romania. As long as they took care of business with the other sides, which they regularly did, the winner of their match-up determined the REC winner. Not much has changed going into 2018. Germany need a good run this year so that they can avoid relegation to REC2. The growth of the game in Germany has been huge and positive and it would be a great thing if they managed to stay up.

If Georgia have another dominant run on their way to the title it will strengthen their demands to be worked into the 6N somehow. They are already showing more rugby ability than Italy.

America’s Rugby Championship:

8. Argentina XV N/A
17. USA 66.87
18. Uruguay 65.63
21. Canada 61.13
24. Chile 58.18
28. Brazil 55.61

Average Ranking: 22nd
Average Ranking Points: 61.52
Competition Ranking: 4th

In the two year history of this Tournament it has become no surprise that the Argentina XV are the favorites to win it all. What is shocking is how the USA has gone from middle of the pack to last year’s champion. The USA has a lot of pressure because they have proven to be a totally different team at home than on the road. Those Helter Skelter road matches are what will determine whether they repeat as champions.

The other question is whether Canada can bounce back to overtake Uruguay for third. I acknowledge that Uruguay just beat Canada in the RWC qualifier so our stats should be updated for those two teams. Furthermore, Uruguay is ranked higher and proved it by winning the first of the home and home Rugby World Cup qualification series.


That’s all for now, please feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter@@RugbyWrapUp@Junoir Blaber@MeetTheMatts@Luke Bienstock@Ronan Nelson@Brian C Cole and @Declan Yeats.

And remember to stay low and keep pumping those legs!

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About the Author ()

Born in Osu, Accra, Ghana, West Africa, Junoir Blaber is a rare commodity; while most Ghanians eat, sleep and dream Soccer (football), Junoir is all about Rugby. A self-proclaimed Rugbyologist, he has been involved in Rugby as a ref, coach, administrator and player since Columbus discovered Ohio. His useful/trivial rugby knowledge qualify Blaber as RWU's Senior Correspondent & known in rugby circles as The Rugby Rain Man. He can also be found moonlighting for our American partners at MeetTheMatts.com.

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