Where large rugby teams are after the November series

In the final confrontation between the big rugby teams of the northern and southern hemispheres before the Rugby World Cup, the north topped 7-5 this week.

The south completed the semi-finals at the last Rugby World Cup in 2015, and three years later the north seems to overtake.

Here are the big rugby teams after the November series, ranked by world rankings.


All Blacks coach Steve Hansen expressed his confidence in the state of preparedness of his team less than a year after the Rugby World Cup in Japan, where he will try to win the Webb Ellis Trophy for the third consecutive time. After a difficult season 2018, with a historic loss for world number 2 Ireland, fans are less optimistic.

Hansen believes his team has discovered new talent and developed new aspects of his game that will serve well in Japan. He said his losses this year to Ireland in Dublin and South Africa in Wellington were to learn experiences from which the team will benefit. Fans are more anxious after seeing the All Blacks played out by Ireland.

Against the British and Irish lions last year and Ireland this year, the All Blacks have shown a tactical weakness and lack of calm against suffocating defenses that could serve as a blueprint for teams that are out to take them off as world champions.

Hansen insists that everything is in order, that the technical staff has developed new means to break the defense. The form of key players, including Captain Kieran Read, was also worrying, but once again, Hansen is confident that the All Blacks are on track to win their fourth World Championship.

– By Steve McMorran


It was a widely supported image anyway, but this month provided definitive evidence: Ireland can win the Rugby World Cup.

Even the approaching departure of coach Joe Schmidt, who will stop the team after the next year's tournament in Japan, will not pierce the optimism among Irish fans after a clean November ship that won 16-9 victory over New Zealand. It was the first home win against the All Blacks and a second triumph over the world champions in two years.

That alone makes Ireland a second favorite to conquer the Webb Ellis Cup – All Black's coach Steve Hansen said jokingly that Schmidt was the favorite – but other important factors include the depth of talent and structure in Irish rugby that provides players in the national circuit. team the best chance to perform and to stay relatively fresh.

Schmidt has Johnny Sexton – named on Sunday as the world's best player for 2018 – preparing the team, but might have a wish in the next season: that scrum half Conor Murray completely recovers from long standing problems with his neck .

– By Steve Douglas


The Welsh probably go through their best period since the glory days of the 1970s, with a first victory of four games in November, with their winning run being extended to nine internationals.

They gained third place in the rankings and as impressive as the game management of the team in eroding victories on Scotland, Australia and South Africa, the depth of the team that allowed the reserves of Warren Gatland to 74 points beyond Tonga in between.

Psychologically, Wales now knows how to win against the giants of the southern hemisphere (even though the All Blacks remain better). That was always the stick to beat Gatland with, after so many courageous losses to the Wallabies and Springboks, but no more.

The retirement of Sam Warburton and the absence of Taulupe Faletau this month did not disturb the back row of Wales, with flanker Ellis Jenkins the newest highly rated tyro of the production line.

The Welsh are not at the level of Ireland or the All Blacks, but are still a fearful team going to the Rugby World Cup.

– By Steve Douglas


This month Eddie Jones would not make or break, but the critics may have sharpened their claws with a filthy November followed by a loss of the June series in South Africa and a fifth place in the Six Nations.

He will be satisfied with victories over Australia and South Africa that bring a loss of 16-15 to New Zealand, however frustrating it would have been to a rare victory over the All Blacks from 15-0. by letting England's grip slip.

The key for Jones is that he has a fully fit team at his disposal to participate in the Rugby World Cup, with the brothers Vunipola, Chris Robshaw, Anthony Watson and Joe Launchbury among those missing this month.

Powerful center The return of Manu Tuilagi is a nice bonus and gives England a completely different option in midfield. Owen Farrell once again showed that he is world-class, even if his technique in the tackle is under the microscope.

Compared to a few months ago, it could be much worse for Jones less than a year from Japan.

– By Steve Douglas


The Springboks of Rassie Erasmus ended their season as they started, with a defeat against Wales, and a success rate of barely 50 percent in 2018 (seven wins of 13 tests) indicate that there was no quick solution under the new coach.

South Africa conquered part of its reputation after an embarrassing period under Allister Coetzee, but the Boks are still fighting for the power they were. Erasmus had a victory over the All Blacks in New Zealand in September, but in general South Africa only went from poor to inconsistent when fans hoped for more.

Erasmus has scrumhalf Faf de Klerk and wing defender Willie le Roux back from the international exile, but his questions are left behind at the Rugby World Cup: Erasmus Prizes. 8s Warren Whiteley and Duane Vermeulen but both can not play in their favorite position and his best loose-forward combination is still unclear. There is no clear back-up for the Klerk at no. 9.

Overall, the front pack is still one of the strongest and fast young wings Aphiwe Dyantyi and Sbu Nkosi make the Boks more threatening than in years, but combining those elements into a normal winning formula was elusive.

To help the racial transformation of the sport, South African rugby has promised the government that at least 50 percent of its team at the Rugby World Cup in Japan will be black players and that Erasmus will have to plan for that. It is an extra complication that no other national team or coach has.

– By Gerald Imray


The best part of 2018 has finally arrived for the Wallabies. The end.

In a nine-loss year, their worst loss rate in 30 years, the Wallabies regressed. The defense was fragile, the set pieces were a horror show and the attack failed without a coherent plan. They did not have a head start and did not intimidate. This month they scored three attempts against Italy, all in a spelling of 14 minutes. They defended themselves for the rest of the time. The next week All Blacks scored 10 try-outs and Italy never saw the tryline.

But the misery of the Wallabies goes deeper than the team. Rugby is at home in a crisis.

The juniors have not reached the world under 20 semifinals since 2011. And in Super Rugby, the West Force was forced to improve the other franchises, and it failed. A 40-match losing streak against the New Zealand franchises was not played until May. The bad displays of the Australian team have meant that there is no viable alternative for national coach Michael Cheika, who should be fired on October 7, the day after the Wallabies beat Argentina 45-34 of 31-7 in Salta. Despite the comeback, the Wallabies were terrible.

If the Australian Rugby Union had pulled the trigger, Cheika would have understood. He was appointed in October 2014 after the shocking resignation of Ewen McKenzie. Within a year the Wallaby were in the 2015 Rugby World Cup final and Cheika was the world coach of the year.

But since then he led them to 17 victories in 42 tests. It is too late to dump Cheika now, but the Wallabies need a new voice, new eyes and inspiration.

– By Foster Niumata


If the Rugby World Cup was in Scotland next year, the host would be a title candidate. Until the Scots come across their results, they are an unambiguous pony. And the trick is to play them far from Murrayfield. The bulkheads are well equipped: the package is typically fierce and the backs are exciting. But Wales showed at the beginning of the month in Cardiff that the Scots have a mental block away from home. And it still looks like Japan – the host of the Rugby World Cup – they will have to continue to reach the quarterfinals.

South Africa breaks the Murrayfield castle this month, and if that was "one that escaped", winning Argentina was "what they got away with." The Scots were the second best in any statistics against the Puma's, but had the upper hand thanks to the Murrayfield factor. They never stopped believing, and to win while they were not at their best was meritorious. The experiment of playing two No 10's, Finn Russell and Adam Hastings, however, was not decisive.

– By Foster Niumata


A lucky lock with Japan a year ago, Guy Noves takes his job as a coach in France. A loss for Fiji, however, may not cost his successor Jacques Brunel.

Brunel has won so many tests this year as did Noves last year – three – but the Tricolors are in better shape, although they are still susceptible to horrible mistakes, a la Fiji, against whom they were "little boys", according to Mathieu Bastareaud.

Brunel seems to have more room for maneuver. Before the team was Fiji-ed, they lost at the last minute to South Africa and conquered Argentina to prevent their worst losing streak in almost 50 years.

Fiji has put an end to the burgeoning expectations of France. But after the juniors won the world title under 20 in June, there is optimism that young talent can still be the salvation.

– By Foster Niumata


The Puma & # 39; s were the only lowest team to change coach this year. It worked. Mario Ledesma moved from the Super Rugby Jaguares, the Jaguars put on Pumas jerseys and the team immediately looked pumped up. Two victories do not look respectable, but the Puma's are a "big photo" side. Unlike most other teams, they consider the destination as more important than the journey. Results are now less important than building the Rugby World Cup, and in that respect they were on course to finish the year better than when they started. They were competitive against Ireland, France and Scotland until the last quarter of this month. Depletion deployed after the same team played Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship.

The Ledesma bosses relaxed the rules to enable him to select overseas players, but apart from asking for a few props, he stayed with only Jaguares, who reached the Super Rugby playoffs for the first time. Wounded European props Ramiro Herrera and Juan Figallo were missed this month when the Puma scrum cracked and groaned. But the experience was invaluable. Agustin Creevy gave the captain after four years, but was still a threat to the collapse, and new loose forward Rodrigo Bruni looked like a rising star. By the time they arrive in Japan, they will have their exile back and will undoubtedly be stronger.

– By Foster Niumata


The home series of November was a success for Italy. Georgia was defeated. Thanks to the comfortable victory of 28-17, Italy talked even more about the replacement in the Six Nations by the hyped-up Georgians, the seventh best team in Europe. The Italians, however, still struggle to take the wooden spoon in the next Six Nations.

The former fullback of Ireland Conor O & # 39; Shea promised improvement when he took over Italy in June 2016. That happened. He works from the clubs, and the Italian parties win more. Change continues, and there is a wider range of talent available for O & # 39; Shea, who has not been afraid to give caps to newcomers.

But discipline and messy mistakes still plague the Azzurri. They gave the Wallabies a run for their money, but were outclassed by the All Blacks this month. Playing without injured captain Sergio Parisse still seemed the same as when he played.

O & # 39; Shea sees progress, but admits that there is still "a very, very long" way to go.

– By Daniella Matar

Source link