The new IRB Rankings are out following the quarter-finals. Even though they got no further than the quarter-finals of rugby’s prestige global competition, the All Blacks are still officially the best team in the world. New Zealand’s tormentors of last weekend, France, are now up to second place. South Africa and Argentina remain third and fourth respectively, while Australia slip to fifth. All the rest stay as is.
Ireland’s squad may have no further part to play in the tournament, but there will at least be some Irish representation on the field for the final. Ireland’s top referee Alain Rolland will be manning the whistle for the showpiece game. It’s a great honour for the former Leinster scrum-half, but wouldn’t it have been nice if he had been ruled ineligible?? (Indo)
Team of the tournament so far, Argentina, feature in the news twice today. Their centre (and Leinster out-half), Dr Felipe Contepomi along with his international out-half colleague Juan Matin Hernandez, have both been nominated for the IRB Player of the Year Award. The three other nominees are New Zealand’s Richie McCaw, South Africa’s Bryan Habana and France’s Yannick Jauzion. (Irish Rugby News)
Due recognition of Argentina’s place in world rugby could be on the horizon, with IRB chairman Syd Miillar voicing his opinion that Los Pumas should be included in an expanded Southern Hemisphere Four Nations competition.
More on that remarkable France-New Zealand match from Mick Cleary in the Telegraph today. He reckons that the French had the game won before a ball was even kicked. The French stood on the half-way line and reflected the belligerence of the haka back at the All Blacks.
An Spailpín Fánach gives his take on the weekend’s action, bemoaning the schadenfreude evident in the media surrounding the All Blacks’ exit.
The cheap sniggering that’s accompanied the spectacular crashing to Earth of the best team at the Rugby World Cup™ has been unedifying, and the one bum note in what’s otherwise been a spectacular weekend for the game of rugby football.
The New Zealanders like to big up their team, but your close-attention-paying correspondent doesn’t hear much whinging out of them. Chris Jack was interviewed on Newstalk last night, before the Scotch game. He sounded like a man at his own funeral, but never once did he whinge or whine. To do so would have been the work of a “sook,” and the All-Blacks were never that. They have been able to dish it out, but now they’re taking it, and taking it like men. It’s hard not to feel that the tournament is poorer without them.