Saturday 28th September
Argentina 28 – 12 Tonga
Argentina put together a decent victory over Tonga and by so doing, they continue to bring about results which exceed their ranking predictions and build on their ranking score, although this still might not be enough for them to qualify for the quarter finals. Tonga maintained their ranking position and score after this game, although they went back up a place by the end of the weekend following the result of the Georgia vs Uruguay match.
Japan 19 – 12 Ireland
Wow! A second big shock for the rugby world cup already! The hosts Japan went into this match ranked outside the top 10 and managed to beat the Irish side which is one of the favourites for the tournament. Both Japan and Ireland changed in their ranking score significantly – Japan gained (by 0.4) and Ireland lost (by 0.7), however it was not enough for either team to change their ranking position. The official rankings on the other hand show a big shake up. Whether our more measured nature of calculating the ranking impact of shock results is superior than the official ranking could well be tested in the remainder of the pool stage and tournament.
South Africa 57 – 3 Namibia
South Africa were clearly expected to win this all African encounter, however the margin of victory they achieved against Namibia was nevertheless greater than expected. Consequently, they overtook Wales and moved into 4th in the rankings again. Their joy would be short lived as they would drop back into 5th again following the result of the Australia vs Wales match the following day.
Sunday 29th September
Georgia 33 – 7 Uruguay
This was billed as a close encounter (not of the third kind!) following Uruguay’s surprise victory over Fiji earlier in the week. Uruguay showed the same level of commitment as they did against Fiji, however the narrative of this game was very much driven by the relative dominance of the Georgian team. The result keeps Georgia comfortably in 15th position in the rankings, with Uruguay’s ranking position slipping back below Tonga to 17th. Interestingly though, Uruguay’s ranking position is now the same as when they started the tournament; However, their results have still helped them build up their ranking score.
Australia 25 – 29 Wales
Predicted to be the most evenly matched sides contesting a game in the world and it didn’t disappoint. Both sides had periods of the game where the momentum was clearly with them and the result could have gone either way, but in the end Wales came out on top by four points. Even though this is a very small margin, the ranking model would have in fact predicted an even smaller margin of victory and therefore Wales made positive strides consequently with their ranking score. This gain in points also lifted them back into 4th in the rankings over South Africa. Australia’s World Cup so far has been one of results being slightly less than expected, however they are clearly a strong side and would be a tough opponent for any would be challenger (including England).
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