All Blacks a new Rugby Championship title. Bokke remains in first place in the WR rankings

                       Last weekend was probably the end of the strongest and most important competition of the year, The Rugby Championship. Formerly known as the Tri Nations, the competition brings together the major forces in the southern hemisphere, namely South Africa (Die Bokke), Argentina (Los Pumas), Australia (Wallabies) and New Zealand (All Blacks). The lattest won the trophy for the 18th time after winning 5 of the 6 matches played.

                      However, the defeat in the last match, against South Africa, lowered the New Zealanders to the second position in the World Rugby rankings. This is while Bokke returned to the 1st place in the world, a position they have been in for the most part in the last two years. Although, initially, home matches could be organized by all participants, the Covid and pandemic cases led SAANZAR to move the competition, after two rounds, entirely to the Australian mainland, to ensure the safety of the players.

                     This year's edition was completely dominated by the All Blacks who, one stage before the final, were already champions. They won doubles against the Pumas and Wallabies with offensive bonus points, so in the first game with Bokke, they only needed one point to become champions. All Blacks kept their name and won the 2019 world championship.

                     The pleasant surprise of the competition was Australia, which, although it started with two clear defeats against New Zealand, later managed to return and rank 2nd. The best match of the Wallabies is, without a doubt, the victory, with a point bonus, in front of South Africa and a Quade Cooper in top form. With these results, Australia climbed to the 3rd position in the world ranking.

                     On the other hand, the main disappointment of the season is Argentina's counter-performance of not getting any points in 6 games.

                     Surprisingly or not, the World Rugby rankings perhaps best reflect the order of the teams based on their World Cup performance, namely the most successful team in South Africa on the first position, the triple world champion All Blacks on the 2nd place, Australia with two titles on the place 3 and England the 2003 champion in 4th place.

Alexandru-Ioan Popa

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