Our Ranking vs The Official Ranking as Fiji take on Georgia

Tomorrow marks a big day for our rankings as for the first time since the World Cup began, our system is predicting a different winner to the official rankings. Fiji are set to clash with Georgia tomorrow at 14:15 local time in the Hanazono Rugby Stadium, and our ranking algorithm predicts the Fijians will come out the victors.

If Fiji are to beat Georgia tomorrow, as we predict, it would be the first piece of evidence in this World Cup that our ranking outperforms the official system. Conversely, if Georgia are victorious, then the result would support the validity of the official ranking.

What might have otherwise been a match of little significance in the tournament has suddenly been thrust into the limelight as a proving ground not only for Fiji and Georgia, but for the ranking models each team is inadvertently representing.  

Position Our Rank Official Rank
10 Fiji Argentina
11 Japan Georgia
12 Italy Fiji
14 Samoa Italy
15 Georgia Samoa

Despite the obvious differences between the two rankings models, so far we have only witnessed games where the systems have predicted the same winning outcome. For example, if Italy were to face Samoa, both our ranking and the official system have Italy rated higher and would, therefore, predict Samoa to suffer a defeat.

Tomorrow’s match between Fiji and Georgia is a different matter. As shown in the table above, not only is the order different, but so is the number of places between the teams. Our model has Fiji ranked significantly higher (5 places) than Georgia and the official ranking has them only 1 place apart.

Our model gives a 76% chance of a Fiji coming out on top in this encounter, leaving Georgia with approximately a 1 in 4 chance of winning the match and upsetting our ranking predictions.

Georgia and Fiji in the Rugby World Cup so far

As far as ranking is concerned, both Georgia and Fiji have had questionable starts to their World Cup campaigns.

Despite being on par with their opponents for three-quarters of the match, Fiji lost their opening game to Australia 39 – 21. They followed this up miserably, by being on the wrong end of one of the big shocks of the tournament so far, losing to Uruguay 30 – 27. This result was detrimental to Fiji’s ranking score but didn’t cause them to lose any ranking positions.

Georgia, on the other hand, started slowly with a sub-par 43 – 14 loss to Wales. They then followed this up with a decent 33 – 7 win over Uruguay. Like Fiji, Georgia have dropped ranking points but not positions since the start of the tournament, with the damage mostly being done on the back of their defeat to Wales.

Going into tomorrow’s game, Georgia still have an outside chance of qualifying for quarter-finals, but will need to beat a Fijian team hell-bent on salvaging some pride with their first win of the competition.

What the outcome is for Georgia, Fiji and the competing ranking models will be clear come the final whistle, but things are certainly heating up in the most unlikely of ways!