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Ireland Confirmed In Top Band For RWC 2019 Draw

Ireland Confirmed In Top Band For RWC 2019 Draw

Ireland will enter the 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool Draw in the top band of seeds for the first time since they were based on the World Rugby Rankings, following their 13-9 win over England in the final match of the RBS 6 Nations.

By ending England’s bid for back-to-back Grand Slams and a world record 19th consecutive Test success, Ireland cemented their fourth place in the rankings, ensuring they are in the same band as New Zealand, England and Australia for the draw.

The RWC 2019 draw bands for the 12 directly-qualified teams are as follows:

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Band 1: New Zealand, England, Australia, IRELAND
Band 2: Scotland, France, South Africa, Wales
Band 3: Argentina, Japan, Georgia, Italy

The seeding process has used the rankings since the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. At the time of the draws for RWC 2011 and RWC 2015 tournaments, Ireland had a ranking of eighth and sixth respectively, putting them in the second band.

Had Ireland lost to England and Wales beaten France, as they so nearly did in Paris, that would have been the case again when the Pool Draw for RWC 2019 takes place in Kyoto, Japan, on Wednesday, May 10.

However, France’s last-gasp victory in the preceding match made the result in Dublin immaterial from a rankings perspective, not that you could tell from a fired-up Ireland side hell-bent on spoiling England’s party and having another celebration a day after St.. Patricks Day.

Joe Schmidt’s men outplayed England and deservedly took the spoils after scoring the only try through influential second row Iain Henderson.

The win over England earned Ireland 1.48 rating points to take them on to 84.66 – 1.69 behind third-placed Australia and nearly two-and-a-half more than Scotland who ensured head coach Vern Cotter signed off in style with a 29-0 triumph over Italy.

Gregor Townsend has some big shoes to fill when he officially takes over from Cotter in June, the New Zealander’s final win ratio in charge of Scotland was 53% – the best by any Scotland coach, including World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee Sir Ian McGeechan.

Townsend inherits a Scotland side that endured fluctuating fortunes over the course of the Six Nations campaign but ultimately managed to hang on to their best ever position of fifth in the rankings.

France gained 0.79 of a point and two places to move up to sixth in the rankings and third in the Six Nations table, swapping places with heartbroken Wales, who had victory snatched away from them when Damien Chouly crashed over in the 20th minute of added time and Camille Lopez slotted the conversion for a 20-18 success at the Stade de France.

WORLD RUGBY RANKINGS (as of Monday, March 20):

Last week’s positions in brackets –

1(1) New Zealand 94.78 rating points
2(2) England 89.53
3(3) Australia 86.35
4(4) IRELAND 84.66
5(5) Scotland 82.18
6(8) France 82.00
7(7) South Africa 81.79
8(6) Wales 81.36
9(9) Argentina 79.91
10(10) Fiji 76.46
11(11) Japan 74.22
12(12) Georgia 72.92
13(13) Tonga 71.94
14(14) Samoa 71.25
15(15) Italy 71.17