New Zealand's result over Italy was their biggest World Cup win since they beat Portugal 108-13 in 2007 year. Photo: AP/Pavel Golovkin
The penultimate round of the 2023 Rugby World Cup group stage featured a mix of close matches and runaway victories, and New Zealand's victory over Italy made a statement.
All Blacks and Scotland among those moving in the right direction, while Fiji and Italy are going in the opposite direction.
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Also take a look at the first round here, the second round here and the third round here.
20. Romania (–)
Eight points for; 242 against after three matches. In the pool of death, of course, the “easiest” match – with Tonga – is still ahead, but this is gloomy reading for the Romanians.
19. Namibia (–)
With 37 points in a group almost as tough as Romania, it means Namibia have avoided the wooden spoon for now. Both Namibia and Chile are the first teams to finish their campaigns in the pool stage and while they will gain more experience, it hasn't been an easy road for them. They need more quality equipment.
18. Chile (–)
Los Condores were officially the lowest ranked team in the tournament, but they performed better than the two teams below them in our table.
17. Uruguay (-4)
Given that at one stage in their wooden spoon shootout in Group A Uruguay looked like they might lose to struggling Namibia, Los Teros were always destined for defeat. However, the severity of this decline is caused more by the improvements of others than by their own shortcomings. It was tough.
Uruguay rallied from 14-0 to 23-12 in a hard fought game to deny Namibia their first chance . -ever won the World Cup Photo: Reuters/Paul Childs 16. Samoa (-4)
Were they the biggest disappointment of the tournament? Of course, there are arguments in favor of this. Not necessarily in the results (although most would predict they would beat Japan), but certainly in the disgusting and inaccurate nature of the performances. Samoa overtook Argentina and Japan in a group that lacked quality; What is especially important is that in both cases their opponents emerged victorious.
15. Tonga (+1)
In every match Tonga played against formidable opponents, they showed glimpses – but those glimpses were not enough to stop the Pacific Islanders sitting nil in Group B, only points ahead of Romania. Of course, the fact that Sunday night's defeat to South Africa is Tonga's first meeting with the Springboks since the 2007 World Cup remains a shame.
14. Portugal (+1)
Experts keep telling us that Fiji is the second team in this tournament, but Portugal has emerged as the top performer in this tournament. Having drawn with Georgia, pushed Wales hard and then left reeling Australia stumped, Portugal gets extra points for enterprise, ambition and joy. Their willingness to keep the ball alive is to be admired – and against Fiji next weekend, Patrice Lagiguet's side may still have a say in the quarter-final line-up.
13. Georgia (+4)
Dramatic improvements from Lelos – and after a limp defeat to Australia and a second-half capitulation against Portugal, they were needed. Moving up four places flatters them a little considering they lost, but they edged Fiji, almost certainly the quarter-finalists, all the way to Bordeaux. Georgia could (and should) have won; but the fact that it's even part of the equation is a testament to their progress midway through the tournament.
David Niniashvili (right), who was one of Georgia's outstanding players in the match against Fiji. Photo: Getty Images/Philip Lopez 12. Italy (-3)
New Zealand were great, but for Italy it was a real horror show that undermined much of the hard work the Azzurri had put in to create what is undoubtedly the most skilful Italian team ever times Terrible day at the office; The response against France, which can still be destroyed if Italy wins, is vital.
11. Japan (+3)
Japan also failed to set the world on fire in Group D, and a three-place promotion – thanks to other failures – flatters them. The Cherry Blossoms narrowly beat a flagging Samoan side to set up a winner-take-all showdown with Argentina on Sunday.
10. Australia (+1)
Generous, perhaps, but a win is a win – and a bonus point variety at that – and Australia could only play for what was in front of them. Regardless, it will never be enough to prevent what will likely be a historic run out of the pool. Fiji need just a point against Portugal next Sunday to progress at the expense of the Wallabies.
9. Argentina (+1)
As with the Wallabies, Argentina have a modest one-point boost from a win over an inferior opponent – and that's about it. The game was not a classic in terms of quality – despite the 64 points – but it gives Los Pumas confidence that a win over Japan next week will see them through to the quarter-finals, possibly taking on Wales.
8 . Fiji (-3)
A modest, muddled performance against Georgia probably doesn't tell us much about the future development of this Fijian team, but for 80 minutes against Lelos, Fiji were pretty bad. A godly relief from Levani Botia has spared them a terrible predicament, but they know that more difficult challenges lie ahead. And, very importantly, Fiji still found a way to win.
Vaisea Nayakalevu scored Fiji's first try against Georgia. Photo: Getty Images/Phil Walter 7. Wales (–)
Without playing and having played several important games this weekend, Wales remain in place. A win over Georgia next weekend and a win in Group C should see them crack the top five, while a loss to Los Lelos could see them fall.
6. England (–)
Like Wales, England remain unchanged as they did not play a single game this weekend. However, like Wales, defeat to Samoa next Saturday – which could see them relinquish top spot in the table to the winner of Argentina v Japan – could see the rankings plummet, while victory over the Pacific Islanders will keep the pressure on the team. top five, victory in Group D and the upcoming quarter-finals.
5. Scotland (+3)
Scotland need to tick two boxes to reach the quarter-finals. The first, the defeat of Romania, was achieved with ease, without losing a single point to Darcy Graham's riots. The second – a blow to Ireland – will require a Herculean effort. By the way, this tournament continues to wait for its proper failure. Next Saturday all eyes are on Paris.
4. France (-1)
The hosts are to blame for the fact that the New Zealanders did not play well. They remain one of the tournament favorites and it will take an all-powerful team to stop them. In addition, captain Antoine Dupont is on the road to a miraculous recovery and hopes to make the scrum semi-final fit for the quarter-finals (perhaps by decorating the mask). However, a defeat to Italy (though unlikely) and Les Bleus will likely be packing their bags (and not traveling far with them).
3. New Zealand (+1)
To think that people thought some of the All Blacks' aura had been eroded? Last Friday the New Zealanders made a more than competent Italy look completely incompetent. New Zealand was phenomenal; few teams could live with them. Ireland – the likely opponents in the quarter-finals – will not take an Azzurri victory with any joy.
2. South Africa (–)
Professional and ultimately ruthless, South Africa remains in place after taking on Tonga's challenge in Marseille. The Springboks, especially in the first half, were rattled by the physical strength of the Pacific Islanders, but given what the reigning world champions went through last weekend in Paris, they can be forgiven. They remain one of the teams to beat.
Kanan Moody scored one try and created another in South Africa. win over Tonga Photo: Getty Images/Sylvie Filetas 1. Ireland (-)
No team did enough to knock unmatched Ireland out of their place this weekend. It seems almost perverse to write this given that Andy Farrell's side's last win came against the reigning world champions, but their defining test – at least mentally – is against Scotland. A defeat and Ireland could exit the group.
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Rugby World Cup Power Rankings (Week Four )