How’s that anxious going? Mine’s climbing into the stratosphere as we get closer to kick-off. Damn this time stuff that goes too slow then too fast.
So let’s add a little more intrigue while we wait impatiently. Specifically Tournament Rule 1.1.3:
Rankings at the completion of the pool phase
At the completion of the pool phase, the Teams in a pool are ranked one through five based on their cumulative Match points, and identified respectively as winner, runner-up, third, fourth and fifth.
If at the completion of the pool phase two or more Teams are level on Match points, then the following criteria shall be used in the following order until one of the Teams can be determined as the higher ranked:
The winner of the Match in which the two tied Teams have played each other shall be the higher ranked;
The Team which has the best difference between points scored for and points scored against in all its pool Matches shall be the higher ranked;
The Team which has the best difference between tries scored for and tries scored against in all its pool Matches shall be the higher ranked;
The Team which has scored most points in all its pool Matches shall be the higher ranked;
The Team which has scored most tries in all its pool Matches shall be the higher ranked;
Should the tie be unresolved at the conclusion of steps 1 through 5, the rankings as per the updated Official World Rugby World Rankings on October 12, 2015 will determine the higher ranked Team.
That’s a fairly reasonable process to break a tie in the pool. You could argue whether ‘tries for and against’ should have precedence over ‘points for and against’, but that’s a squidgeon matter.
The interesting one is that final clause: the World Rugby Rankings as at 12 October. That is, after all the pool matches have been played and have affected the Rankings.
New Zealand is far out in front of the current rankings with 92.89 points.*
But the next 5 teams are separated by just 2.43 points: Australia is ranked 2nd on 86.67 points, while 6th ranked England has 84.24 points.
And remember (Remember? How could I ever forget?) that the ‘points exchange‘ for each match is doubled during the World Cup.
So expect to see some real volatility in the rankings during the Cup. And that might, just might possibly if you squint, have an impact on the Pool rankings.
*World Rugby Rankings as of 31 August 2015.