World Cup rank­ings at stake in fi­nale

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LON­DON: Six Na­tions cham­pi­ons Eng­land may be bid­ding for a Grand Slam when they face Ire­land this week­end but they won’t be the only team with some­thing to play for in to­mor­row’s fi­nal day of the Cham­pi­onship.

The cli­max to the 2017 Six Na­tions also marks the last round of in­ter­na­tional matches be­fore the 2019 World Cup pool draw takes place in the Ja­panese city of Ky­oto on May 10.

Lead­ing teams will be split into three bands of four based on their po­si­tion in the world rank­ings for a seeded draw.

The aim is to pre­vent too many of the world’s lead­ing na­tions end­ing up in the same pool ahead of the quar­ter-fi­nals and en­sure an even spread of com­pe­ti­tion in the group phase.

Only the top two sides from each of the four pools will go through to the last eight at Ja­pan 2019, so the bet­ter your world rank­ing or seed­ing, the more chance you have of qual­i­fy­ing for the knock­out stages.

Not that it al­ways works like that in prac­tice.

Wales had dropped down to the third tier for the 2015 World Cup and found them­selves in a pool with Eng­land and Aus­tralia.

But it was hosts Eng­land who missed out on the quar­ter-fi­nals

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