Pichot slams world rankings
World Rugby vice president Agustin Pichot has joined the chorus of criticism surrounding the world rankings system, which saw New Zealand lose its decadelong spell at No. 1 to Wales a fortnight ago.
Despite enjoying sustained period of success since last March – which included a record 14-match winning streak and a Six Nations Grand Slam title earlier this year – Wales haven’t defeated the All Blacks since 1953. Subsequently, their move to the summit of the world rankings after they defeated England 13-6 in Cardiff on the same day that New Zealand crushed the Wallabies 36-0 to retain the Bledisloe Cup brought with it some controversy. Speaking to Argentine website aplenorugby.com.ar, the former Pumas captain labelled the structure of the rankings as “ridiculous”.
“It is a ranking that is badly done and I said it the first day I arrived at World Rugby,” he said.
“It has no order, it is all mathematical and I would say that it is almost a matter of marketing.
“Argentina, for example, plays all the games with the first three [New Zealand, Australia and South Africa] and Japan or Fiji win two or three games and are above Italy who also play in a very tough tournament like the Six Nations. “This was demonstrated when Wales never beat New Zealand in history [since the rankings were created] and now appears first.
“It’s ridiculous! I’m going change it, I assure you.”
In the wake of his side’s resounding victory over Australia at Eden Park in Auckland two weeks ago, All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen voiced his disapproval of the way in which his side were demoted to No. 2 on the rankings for the first time since 2009.
“We won the Bledisloe Cup and lost the rankings. Ask yourself how that works,” he said.
“I’ve never understood their system. You win a game and you lose the top ranking?”-Rugby Pass to first time since their 1976-78 reign, Manawatu were spirited and led on several occasions at Forsyth Barr Stadium in round four of the Mitre 10 Cup.
But ultimately it was the hosts who held strong, winning 37-20 while receiving some help from a couple of referee decisions that didn’t go the visitors’ way. Manawatu came into the contest looking for their first win in 2019, but found themselves playing catchup just 90 seconds in. Trying to move the ball quickly to the left just inside the Otago half, Otere Black threw an intercept pass and Koroi ran 60 metres to put the Shield holders in front, having been promoted to the starting lineup at late notice.
Otago’s early lead didn’t last long, however, with Black the danger man, sidestepping a tackle and releasing halfback Jamie Booth who dotted down under the posts. Otago 37: (Vilimoni Koroi 3, Jona Nareki, Patelesio Tomkinson tries, Josh Ioane 3 con, 2 pen) Manawatu 20 (Jamie Booth, Adam Boult tries, Otere Black 2 con, 2 pen). HT: 22-17