After being visibly stung by early talk of England being in pole position for 10N glory, the New Zealand All Blacks have produced a series of dominant Rugby Championship performances to wrest back control of the 10 Nations.
Such was the dominance by the gents in black in these fixtures that they now not only sit proudly atop the 10N table but have generated for themselves 14-point lead over second-placed England in their simulated match.
The effect of this is New Zealand’s fate is now in their own hands with the simulated match result unlikely to change with two remaining matches each. Winning both of their remaining matches will therefore be enough to deliver them their second title in a stellar undefeated tournament.
England on the other hand, have a significant chance of being in the unfortunate position of being undefeated in real world matches through the tournament yet still finishing second to the All Black juggernaut.
They will want to win both their remaining matches to ensure they remain poised to take advantage of any All Black slip up, an unlikely yet not inconceivable possibility with away matches against Ireland and then France in the final match of the 2016 tournament.
Further down the table South Africa are benefiting from playing the big picture and have no doubt erased all disappointment of being passed by Australia for second in the Rugby Championship by still being in contention for 10N bikkies.
They have a good chance of leapfrogging England into second to snatch the arrowroots if they win their match at Twickenham. First place is even still a mathematical possibility for the Boks but one so distant it barely rates a mention.
Australia and Wales also still have good shots at hitting second if results fall their way both by virtue of greater number of real world matches scheduled.
The Wallabies are languishing in eighth currently however they still have four real matches left in their tournament leaving plenty of scope to rise as high as second.
Wales can actually still come out on top of the entire tournament if they win their remaining real world fixtures and other results fall their way.
There will be similar jostling in the lower half of the table with Ireland, France, Scotland and Argentina having that regrettable mix of low current points and fewer remaining real world fixtures to build with.
Using the 10N crystal ball it seems likely that the lower positions will be filled by some combination of these teams for the most part, excluding the Japanese wooden spoon that has been locked up in some time.
So to the final phase of the tournament in November when all will be answered. Can New Zealand maintain its momentum right through to the final whistle of the tournament? Is anyone else capable of maintaining pressure on the All Blacks up to the last?
Or are they all just playing for arrowroots? No doubt there will be some twists yet to be had in the final weeks of the 2016 edition of the world’s premier annual international rugby tournament.
Current competition standings can be seen below and full tournament info and standings can be found on the 10 Nations website here.
1. New Zealand – 32
2. England – 29
3. South Africa – 24
4. Ireland – 19
5. France – 17
6. Wales – 15
7. Scotland – 13
8. Australia – 12
9. Argentina – 8
10. Japan – 5
The All Blacks and the Pumas both sit on six points atop the 2020 Tri Nations table, making tonight’s encounter at McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle a do-or-die clash. Here’s how to live stream or watch the Round 5 game on TV. Saturday night’s blockbuster is essential viewing as the Pumas will look to replicate their […]
Is it really possible that New Zealand Rugby will give Ian Foster his marching orders in the event that the All Blacks lose to Argentina on Saturday in the penultimate game of the Tri Nations competition?
The phrase, “the Tri Nations is well and truly alive now” has been constant in and around the Quick Questions for the last month, and it’s no less so after the hard-fought but ultimately disappointing draw between Los Pumas and the Wallabies on Saturday.