Monday, December 15, 2008

2008: A year of Rugby. Part 1

2008 A year of Rugby will follow in a number of parts as Rugbyinternational looks at rugby around the world at the international level.

Part 1: What is GWC Rugby Rankings?

My Rugby Ranking system is simplicity to a fault. It's so easy it defies all the technically enhanced computer generated systems led of course by the IRB Ranking System.

The IRB System is now so respected that it determines the placings of the top Rugby nations for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. That seeding system was completed with the 2008 November round of international rugby tests and the resulting draw for that tournament was made in early December.

The only real grizzle I have with such a system is that teams who never play each other are all ranked in together. For the top tier of nations that is not really a problem as they mostly play each other in a clalendar season. When you go beyond that level teams who never play each other are ranked together. To me that is just not logical.

So about 5 years ago I came up with a simple system of ranking nations in geographical groups, which is where most teams below the top tier play. So I grouped teams in the following areas.

North America
South America

The rankings follow the old tennis ladder system. If you defeat a team above you on the ladder, you move to their position, and then all teams move down. If you draw with a team above you you go to the position imediately below, with all teams in between moving down.

The rankings are readjusted at the end of any tournament. In the 6 Nations tournament, if team No.1 is defeated by team No.6 in the last round there may not be a change if, on the points table there is no change. Small adjustments can be made.

All teams are ranked in their geographical zones, and then if they play a test match across the regions they then enter the World Table as well, which of course is the premier table. For example, both Hong Kong and Tunisia entered the World Table earlier in the year as they played two tests, home and away. Hong Kong is in the Asian zone whilst Tunisia is in the African. Brazil and Trinidad and Tobago also entered the World Table for 2008 because they played against each other in Rugby World Cup qualifying matches.

A team must play a test match within a calendar year to remain on any table. Teams drop out of the World Table for the same reason. No play, no gain.

The ladder philosophy is very simple. You are only as good as the last game you played.

You can view the completed GWC Rugby Ranking tables at

Post your views on the various ranking systems around. Post the links here and others can view and discuss. Look forwards to hearing from you.

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