Joe Schmidt’s Ireland could rise to the top of the World Rugby ranking this weekend without kicking a ball. However, a bizarre series of results would be needed for this to happen.
After New Zealand’s shock 47-26 defeat to Australia in Perth last weekend their reign at the top of the world rankings could be under threat this weekend.
Wales missed the opportunity to claim top spot last Sunday, any win would have seen then claim the top spot, however, a 33-19 win for England saw them claim the ranking points instead. Those two results create a few interesting scenarios this weekend.
New Zealand play Australia in Eden Park at 8:35am Irish time on Saturday morning (Sky Sports Action). The odds are stacked in the home sides favour for what will be Steve Hansen’s 100th match in charge of the All-Blacks. They are unbeaten in their last 42 games at Eden Park, a record that stretches all the way back to a 20-23 loss to France in 1994. A draw or a Wallabies win would see Australia lift the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 2002.
Regardless of the result in that game, Wales will have another chance to claim top spot when they face England in Cardiff at 2:15pm (Channel 4 & Sky Sports Action). However, a win for Eddie Jones’ men by a margin of 15 points or more would see England claim top spot for the first time since 2004. This game will be the 134th meeting between the side, with the English edging the win count 63-58, and the other 12 games ended in draws. Wales will be eager to make amends after last weekends loss in Twickenham and will be confident of victory in the Principality Stadium, where they are unbeaten in their last 10 matches.
Ireland will enter the permutations for top spot if New Zealand fail to beat Australia and Wales and England then draw in Cardiff. A draw would see Wales drop below Ireland, but would not give England enough points to overtake us…… it’s a long-shot, but far from impossible. From the sats above we can see that there have been 12 draws from the 132 games between England and Wales, that’s one draw out of every eleven matches.
Betfair currently quotes the draw at 28/1 while Paddy Power have it at 23/1, however, the spread on the game is tight with Paddy Power offering Wales-2/England+2 and Betfair similarly tight at Wales -2.5/England +2.5.