top spot

Schmidt's Ireland can go top of world rankings with big win in Cardiff

Despite being hammered by England last time out, Ireland can secure top spot.

IRELAND HAVE AN opportunity to go to number one in World Rugby’s official rankings again this weekend, despite having been hammered by England last Saturday.

Joe Schmidt’s men would have gone to the top of the rankings with a victory at Twickenham but they have another opportunity to secure the number one spot for the first time in their history by beating the Welsh this weekend.

ireland-team-line-up-for-the-national-anthem Ireland could go top of the rankings this weekend. Billy Stickland / INPHO Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

Ireland will have to beat Warren Gatland’s side by more than 15 points to leap above the Welsh, who are currently top of World Rugby’s official list.

Schmidt’s side sit in fourth spot heading into the weekend, with England having jumped to third after their 57-15 victory in London.

If Ireland draw or win narrowly in Cardiff, the All Blacks will jump back to number one in the rankings. In that case, Ireland would rise to second. There is also the prospect of Schmidt’s men dropping to fifth if they lose by more than 15 points.

The fact that Ireland can jump to top spot this weekend will raise many eyebrows, including those of World Rugby vice-president Agustín Pichot, who slammed the rankings system this week.

“It’s a ranking that is badly done and I said it the first day I arrived at World Rugby,” Pichot told A Pleno Rugby in Argentina.

“It has no order, it’s all mathematical and I would say that it’s almost a matter of marketing.

“Argentina, for example, play their games against the top three [New Zealand, Australia and South Africa] and Japan or Fiji can win two or three games and are above Italy, who also play in a very tough tournament like the Six Nations.

“It’s demonstrated by the fact Wales have never beated New Zealand in history but they’re now ranked first. It’s ridiculous! I’m going to change it, I assure you.”

Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey and Bernard Jackman try to identify how Ireland can get back on track after Twickenham.

The42 Rugby Weekly / SoundCloud

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