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Stephen Jones Questions The World Rankings As Ireland Make A Rise

Stephen Jones Questions The World Rankings As Ireland Make A Rise
By Conor O'Leary
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Ireland's rise to second in the World Rugby rankings has gone largely unnoticed. Granted, it's not like in golf or football where the rankings count towards seedings in tournaments, and it would be better to be ranked higher after the World Cup than before.

Even still, you'd expect there to be a bit of buzz around the world's second ranked team just six weeks from the World Cup. It's probably exactly how Joe Schmidt would have wanted it.

While the Irish media is understandably reporting on the historic ranking and saying "Isn't this great?", the Southern Hemisphere haven't noticed.

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The New Zealand Herald reported on how "satisfying" and "dominant" a win Ireland had over Wales, but their prime concern was the post-mortem after they lost the Rugby Championship to Australia - who they know think are World Cup contenders. Their trans-Tasman rivals were beside themselves after such a victory. Fox Sports, and the Roar didn't cover anything except for World Cup hope, while this was the sole line about rankings in the Sydney Morning Herald:

Ireland will move into second place in World Rugby's rankings but for Wales, whose scores came from Richard Hibbard, Justin Tipuric and Alex Cuthbert, there will plenty of squad-tinkering needed in the weeks ahead as the World Cup looms.

South Africa did mention a team zooming into World Cup contention - but that is Australia after their unbeaten Rugby Championship campaign. That said though, there was a comment on how many options Schmidt has at his disposal, and how the performance "enhanced Ireland's credentials as one of the pre-tournament favourites for the World Cup."

Closer to home, it was left to a rugby journalist of the Sunday Times by the name of Stephen Jones to bring us back down to earth. In an overall positive report on the Irish victory (€), there were words of caution about Ireland. He did also call into question how the rankings could allow the back-to-back Six Nations champions who have beaten Southern Hemisphere sides by over 14 points in two of their last three games against them:

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This win puts Ireland into a dizzying second place in the world rugby rankings, which says a great deal about their current crop and just a little, perhaps, about the formula used to compile the rankings. Two or three career Irish plodders suddenly became dynamic yesterday and caution may be advised before we see a sudden new generation taking Ireland to the top.

Either way, Ireland are bubblingly nicely whilst remaining under the radar. This is how we like it.

See Also: Shane Horgan Explained One Of The Subtle Tactics Joe Schmidt Has Added To The Irish Attack
See Also: Ireland Move Up To Second In The World After Victory Against Wales
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