The All Blacks win over Los Pumas and the Springboks victory over the Wallabies has ensured that the final round of The Rugby Championship will go into a decider, although the job for the challengers has been made immensely more difficult.
The defending champion’s procurement of an all-important bonus point makes it a stark equation – the Springboks must win with a bonus point if they are to claim their first tournament crown since the competition was expanded to include Argentina.
AS IT STANDS
However achieving the four-try bonus point victory would be enough by itself unless Ellis Park engineers a point’s fest.
The Springboks currently hold a +97 difference compared to +76 for the All Blacks.
So if the Springboks achieve a four try bonus point, and keep the All Blacks from recording a bonus point of their own, the title will belong to South Africa.
The margin of victory would only be a factor if the All Blacks were on less than their 23 competition points. If there was a four competition point, not a five, buffer between the teams New Zealand would need to beat the Springboks by 22 or more.
For the All Blacks to win The Rugby Championship, they can afford to lose, just as long as they prevent the Springboks from crossing their line four times.
Victory to the All Blacks, a Springbok win without a bonus point, a South African bonus point win but the defending champions get a bonus point of their own, or a draw - gives the title to New Zealand.
THE WOODEN SPOON
If Argentina is able to record their maiden victory in The Rugby Championship, they will finish third overall.
Only two competition points separates the two nations so bonus points will not be a factor here.
The All Blacks cannot be dislodged from the number one position irrespective of proceedings this weekend, while the Springboks cannot shift from second in the world according to the IRB rankings (even allowing for changes in rankings to be released later this evening GMT time).
However Rosario presents a whole different scenario.
A narrow win for Argentina would not move the Wallabies from fourth position, while ensuring that the Pumas would leapfrog Scotland into 9th position.
Victory for the Wallabies, by any margin, will not change their position; neither will it change Argentina’s rank.
A big (15 points or more) win to Argentina would see France and Wales overtake the Wallabies, consigning Ewen McKenzie’s troops to sixth in the world.
TIEBREAKING CRITERIA AS PER TOURNAMENT MANUAL
3.3 POINTS TABULATION
Points will be awarded in all TRC matches on the following basis:
Win 4 points
Draw 2 points
Loss 0 points for loss of more than 7 points. Bonus 1 point for 4 tries or more
Bonus 1 point for loss within 7 points or less.
3.4 DETERMINING THE WINNER
Position on the competition table shall be determined by competition points as set out in 3.3 above:
(i) In the event of two or more teams being equal on competition points for any position on the competition table such position shall be determined by the team with the most wins in the series.
(ii) In the event of (i) above not providing a decision, the position on the competition table will be determined by the team with the most wins against the other team/s tied on the same points.
(iii) In the event of (ii) above not providing a decision, the position on the competition table will be determined on the margin of points scored for and against in the series. The team with the highest margin of points scored for and against being considered as the winner.
(iv) In the event of (iii) above not providing a decision, the position on the competition table will be determined on the margin of points scored for and against by those competing teams. The team with the highest margin of points scored for and against being considered as the winner.
(v) In the event of (iv) above not providing a decision, the position on the competition table will be determined on the basis of the team scoring most tries in the series.
(vi) In the event of (v) above not providing a decision, the Series shall be shared between the two teams.
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