Monday Mar 12, 2018

Ireland are now the second best rugby team in the world

Ireland are now the second best rugby team in the world
14
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Ireland’s win over Scotland on Saturday, combined with England’s loss to France, means that they not only claimed the 2018 6 Nations Championship title, but moved up to their highest position in the official World Rugby Rankings since 2015. 

Too further rub in their status as the second best team in the world, Saturday’s 20-point win over Scotland helped them to leapfrog England to the second position. 

They picked up 2.52 rating points in their favour, passing England, while New Zealand – who they famously beat once off in Chicago – still sit safely at the top of the pile. 

As Ireland go in search of their third ever Grand Slam this coming Saturday, it is England that they will face. Last year’s Championship winners are now just 0.35 of a ranking point behind them. 

Scotland’s loss to Ireland means that South Africa benefit, as they move up to 5th on the rankings again, with Scotland swapping to sixth, while France move up two places to eighth, gaining 1.89 points by beating England 22-16. 

There was some concern about Cian Healy post match, after it appeared that he took a headknock, but was not properly attended to. An official statement has since been made though, clarifying that Healy was in fact suffering from a shoulder knock. 

“Cian Healy suffered a stinger-like injury to the shoulder/trapezius area. He experienced some discomfort on the field and received the appropriate treatment. Cian will train fully this week.”

He, along with all 36 squad players, are available for selection for this coming weekend. 

FULL HIGHLIGHTS FROM IRELAND vs SCOTLAND

14 Comments

  •  lnd
    lnd

    Nice Steve Davis analogy.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    I missed your comment, but that was exactly what I thought in the Scotland game (this game). I felt Scotland really did some hard work to open Ireland up, but butchered their opportunities. Ireland on the other hand did well to retain ball a lot, and they took their opportunities which is all anyone can ask for.. I think it really depends on what England get up to this week on how the result will pan out. If they don't stop these ridiculous errors and penalties, Ireland will eat them up, Sexton will keep the board ticking over. But if they sort out their attack and their discipline and wake up, then it could be a much closer game. England also have the element of spoiling a good party for Ireland (I believe Ireland do the same to England a few years back?), England also have nothing to lose but reputation and perhaps table position if that's of any interest? So again, it's perhaps their chance to really have a go at Ireland. I hope it's a great spectacle no matter what.

    Reply
  •  im1
    im1

    and think what that sense of inevitability/expectation does to the opposition team.

    Reply
  •  mise
    mise

    Good point on retention. I kinda expected them to score that try against scotland before half time, just by holding onto the ball until they did score. V well drilled. A bit like I kinda always expect leigh halfpenny to score his kicks. IRL are like steve davis playing snooker in the 80s at the mo.

    Reply
  •  reality
    reality

    Yes, Rob Kearney has a similar number of accolades, but it doesn't mean he's good or in form. By your logic, Sergio Parisse was a terrible player because he doesn't have any silverware.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Unfortunately it's rare you get two teams north v south that are completely on the money on the day... Look at France, they're rocking around maybe 75% below par, I'd say England they bumped their performance up to perhaps -25%, and England either dropped their performance levels, or were found out for their tactics...or lack of... I've said it above, I felt Scotland were potentially 'just as good' as Ireland, aside from the try scoring... I felt they played very well up until that final phase. But of course one can't say that if Scotland got all their points then they'd have won or whatever the score would have been, because teams react differently to scores.. I do think that perhaps if that pass to Hogg under the posts had gone to hand it would have raised some small doubts in Ireland's mind..

    Reply
  •  im1
    im1

    Ireland's ball retention is unbelievably good. That is why they are where they are. They have some very good players around the park as well, some who are world class, but they have nothing particularly special compared to the others teams in the 6Ns. That doesn't mean I don't think they are a fantastic side, but the reason is simply that Schmidt has coached them to retain the ball so well and the whole squad (and domestic teams) have bought into it.

    Reply
  •  moo
    moo

    They've needed the depth at centre too. 13 seems to be a very unlucky number - Payne, Henshaw and Farrell... It's like playing drums for Spinal Tap!

    Reply
  •  felipeg
    felipeg

    As happy as I am for Ireland I don't see them as the second best team in the world. They have a splendid team play and organisation. But any SH team, England, or even France, could beat them with power, speed or flair on a good day. Thing is, for Ireland their doesn't seem to be good or bad days. And it's quite impressive as such.

    Reply
  •  jwth
    jwth

    Its a strange one in that Ireland have yet to play a perfect or near perfect game yet we have won the tournament comfortably. I can't help feeling that every time the opposition have a bit of time and space, we look incredibly vulnerable and it's just that nobody has been able to capitalize on that fact up till now. Having said that, you can only beat the opposition on the field which we have done consistently for over a year now. It will be very close IMO.

    Reply
  •  mise
    mise

    seems the rest of the world is going backwards, and Ireland are slowly, steadily, rising. (Except the kiwis, they are clearly out ahead of all). Though on form IRL deserve 2nd place, seems a bit premature as ENG have gone on 2 v long winning runs of late (18 games and another v long one) and play IRL this weekend. Its defo the strength in depth that's doing it for IRL, Backrow doesn't even have SOB in it at the mo! Tour of Japan while Lions was on blooded a lot of these young lads.

    Reply
  •  andinov
    andinov

    - 3 Heineken cups, 4 league titles, 2 six nations (1 grand slam) - 2 tours with the lions - 82 caps for ireland - forced Brian O Driscoll to play inside center for part of his career - longest running center partnership in international rugby - player of the tournament in 04, and nominated player of the year - nominated player of the tournament in 07 ... Not too much to joke about with that career

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    I've got to say this was an odd game... Scotland did incredibly well to create the opportunities, but how they didn't finish them was madness... I felt that Ireland won their own game, and Scotland lost their own game.... Of course there were a couple bits where Stockdale (was it?) got the intercept.. I know it sounds silly and you can say it for every game, but overall I sort of felt that HAD Scotland capitalised on their missed opportunities, it would have perhaps been a very close game that perhaps Ireland would have had to fight harder for... But it's the age old thing of teams just not finishing that final pass etc..

    Reply
  •  reality
    reality

    Post BOD, ok, but post Darcy? Darcy had become a joke by the end of his career. Too small to defend, too small to do crash ball (which he still tried to do every time). Anyway, aside from that, yes, the depth at centre is pretty impressive. Don't forget that Stuart McCloskey at Ulster seemed like another big talent only to be overshadowed by Ringrose et al.

    Reply

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