You’d think it was unsporting if the IRB predicted the outcome to every Rugby World Cup pool match, wouldn’t you? But that’s exactly what they’ve done.
Check it out.
I was looking up match fixtures on the official www.rugbyworldcup.com site today and noticed something funny. Do you see how some teams are listed just on the left, some are on the right, and some are scattered between left and right? It doesn’t quite seem arbitrary. But what could the logic be?
Think it might have something to do with who’s expected to win and lose?
Too right it does! Basically what’s happened is someone has thought it would be neatest to have the higher, winning, score from each match in the left-hand column – and has laid out the tables according to the likely outcomes. Sheesh. Everyone knows the World Cup pool matches are predictable, but there’s got to be a point in actually playing, right?
Have a look at the match-ups. In Pool A, New Zealand are on the left for all their games, being backed by the IRB to beat Tonga, Japan, France and Canada. The “brave blossoms” from Japan are expected to lose all their matches, while Tonga were expected to lose to France and New Zealand, but beat Japan and Canada – even though they actually lost narrowly to Canada in the first “upset” of the tournament. How untidy of Canada to win!
In Pool B we have England on the left-hand side in three matches, and on the right for one, which was against Argentina. If my little theory is right, then that means the IRB thought they would lose that one, whereas they actually won the close match 13-9.
And who gets listed on the right-hand, or “losing” side of the table the most – Romania and Georgia! You’re starting to believe it’s a system, and no accident?
I think so. For a moment I wondered if it was just that teams with higher IRB world rankings were listed on the left, as it’s the stronger, higher ranked teams on that side. But then the Argentine v England pairing wouldn’t make sense, because before they played, Argentina were ranked 9th against England’s 5th.
So tsk tsk, IRB. I mean, given their role as the international arbiter of rugby, they’re hardly being impartial. Hmm, I wonder if they’ve got a table made for the final…?
In the meantime, have a look at the other Pool tables and tell me what you think.