There were some highly anticipated games this past weekend, not least of which the Pool C crunch match between England and Argentina. The high expectations for hosts Japan didn’t get the better of them in their game against Samoa. But how did the weekend’s games effect the rankings? Read on for more details...
Starting from the early hours of Saturday
Australia vs Uruguay
Our rankings were pretty much the same as the official rankings for these two teams, albeit we had Uruguay one rank ahead of the official table. With the final gong of this game our expectations were fulfilled, and so were my chances to recover the two pounds I spent on the World Cup office sweepstake only to draw Uruguay out of the hat! The score line was aligned with expectations leaving Australia 6th and Uruguay 17th in our table.
England vs Argentina
Predicted by many to be a physical game, they did not disappoint. A few scraps, an early red card and missed kicks from Farrell provided frustration for England fans.
But England rose to the challenge and ended the game with a 39 – 10 win. This is in line with our ranking prediction, leaving both teams in the same positions as before the game, England 2nd and Argentina 9th, however England increase in ranking score and slowly close the gap on New Zealand.
Our rankings are again slightly different to the official table which shows England 3rd and Argentina 10th. There is still time to see how well our rankings perform - but so far, so good.
Japan vs Samoa
Japan were looking to equal their previous World Cup performance with a third win in the Pool and, succeeded against Samoa 38 - 19. A predicted win for Japan who remain 11th in our table, and Samoa 14th. After an excellent performance, Japan’s margin of victory was not only a little larger than expected, but they managed to get a winning bonus point with a try after the gong.
This leaves an interesting position ahead of next weekend’s crunch game when Japan play Scotland in the final pool A game. Currently Scotland are ranked higher than Japan in our rankings at 7th and 11th respectively. The official ranking has Japan at 8th and Scotland ranked 9th, so there might be more than quarter final qualification on the line when the teams meet in Yokohama in the closing game of the Pool stage.
New Zealand vs Namibia
Despite a brave performance with Namibia keeping New Zealand to a one-point difference until near the end of the first half, New Zealand did what they do best in the second half and added significantly to their score line whilst preventing Namibia from scoring more. Once again, this was a game in line with our rankings predictions with New Zealand further cementing their ranking strength at the top of the table.
France vs Tonga
Entering this game with a prediction of a comfortable French win. There were certainly moments of French brilliance in this match, but their inconsistency let Tonga back into the game only to get away from it with a far narrower margin than expected, ending France 23 – Tonga 21. Whilst this did not change the position in the rankings table for either team, it did reduce the French and increase the Tongan rankings score.
More interestingly, due to the network effect of the rankings model, this result had the effect of increasing the Welsh score despite them not playing this weekend and this pushes Wales back above South Africa into 4th place. This is the fifth switch in position between Wales and South Africa since the start of the World Cup, and if both teams keep performing well a semi-final showdown between the two may well be on the cards!