England’s response to the haka should be encouraged, not penalised

England defeat New Zealand to put them in touching distance of the World Cup and World Number 1 Spot

England produced one of their greatest performances of all time to defeat the current World Number One ranked side New Zealand, 19 – 7. This puts them in the Rugby World Cup Final again. England must be thrilled with a performance that put them in good stead to go one step further to lift the World Cup for the first time in 16 years.  

On the back of the highest ranked team losing a match, there is an inevitable redistribution in the ranking scores. And, the margin of victory was so impressive that England came within a hairs breadth of replacing New Zealand at the pinnacle of rugby ranking.  

Our preview post for this match, [1] presented the scores England needed to achieve to replace New Zealand in the top spot. The game itself played out in an interesting fashion with the result so balanced, that a single extra point for England, or one less for New Zealand and we’d be writing about England topping our World Ranking. 

England’s performance exceeded expectations, including their respectful response to the Haka [2]. Furthermore, the margin of victory was relatively large so that the absolute disruption to the ranking scores is the biggest we’ve seen this tournament. England gained 1.7 and New Zealand lost 2.1 in ranking score. New Zealand are at their lowest ranking score of the tournament and their position as the number one team is in serious threat from England. New Zealand will look to redeem their reputation and add to their score again with a strong victory in the Bronze Medal match against Wales.   

Going into the final, England has the opportunity to not only be crowned World Champion, but also to replace New Zealand at the top of our world rankings.    

Whatever happens, there is plenty to play for and we’ll be providing the in-depth rugby and ranking analysis with our remaining tournament blog posts.