World Rugby vice-president calls ranking system 'ridiculous'

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Agustin Pichot (Getty)
Agustin Pichot (Getty)

Cape Town - World Rugby's vice-president Agustin Pichot says the governing body's rankings system is "ridiculous".

The World Rugby rankings have been a big talking point in recent weeks, especially after top-ranked New Zealand lost their No 1 status to Wales.

Earlier this month, Wales went to the summit of the rankings for the first time after a 13-6 home win over England.

On that same weekend, the All Blacks thrashed the Wallabies 36-0 but slipped off the top spot for the first time since November 2009.

Wales won 15 of 16 Tests to reach No 1 but did not play New Zealand in that period - and they haven't beaten the All Blacks since 1953.

Speaking to Argentine website aplenorugby.com.ar, the former Pumas scrumhalf said: "It is a ranking that is badly done and I said it the first day I arrived at World Rugby. It has no order, it is all mathematical and I would say that it is almost a matter of marketing."

Argentina are currently ranked 11th in the rankings but Pichot suggested they should be higher given the fact that they regularly face New Zealand, South Africa and Australia in the Rugby Championship.

"Argentina, for example, plays all the games with the first three (New Zealand, Australia and South Africa) and Japan or Fiji win two or three games and are above Italy who also play in a very tough tournament like the Six Nations.

"This was demonstrated when Wales never beat New Zealand in history (since the inception of the rankings) and now appears first. It's ridiculous! I'm going to change it, I assure you."

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen also said he was puzzled by the rankings after their Bledisloe Cup win over the Wallabies.

"How do you work that out?" Hansen was quoted as saying by the Stuff.co.nz website earlier this month. "We won the (Bledisloe) Cup last night and lost the rankings. Ask yourself how that works.

"I've never understood their system. You win a game and you lose the top ranking?

"When you sit back, it's something that's going to happen anyway - the top-ranked sides are playing each other in the northern hemisphere, and you get more points if you beat top sides.

"We just need to get ourselves in the right frame of mind to go to the World Cup and win that. I'm not too worried about rankings."

Wales, meanwhile, could slip down to No 4 in the rankings this weekend if they lose their Rugby World Cup warm-up clash against Ireland in Cardiff.

Top 20 in the latest World Rugby rankings:

1. Wales 89.43
2. New Zealand 89.40
3. England 88.13
4. Ireland 87.36
5. South Africa 86.83
6. Australia 84.05
7. Scotland 79.87
8. France 79.72
9. Japan 77.21
10. Fiji 76.98
11. Argentina 76.29
12. Georgia 74.42
13. Italy 72.04
14. USA 71.93
15. Tonga 71.49
16. Samoa 69.08
17. Spain 68.15
18. Romania 66.69
19. Uruguay 65.18
20. Russia 64.81

Others:

23. Namibia 61.01
32. Zimbabwe 51.74
33. Kenya 51.44

Compiled by: Herman Mostert

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