People often wonder how the IRB world rankings work, well, it’s fairly simple. I was fortunate enough to once witness an IRB world rankings meeting take place, and this is exactly what happened:
1. First, the IRB inner sanctum (herein known as the Council of the Inner Sanctum) all gather in a great hall. They all dress in black, with a sort of silver fern thing on the front of their clothes.
2. Next, they start doing a funny dance which involves them pulling silly faces and slapping themselves.
3. The funny dance summons the spirit of Austin The Rude, who rises from a pit of fire, and has a ginormous forehead
4. The Council of the Inner Sanctum then make sacrifices to Austin The Rude, in the form of insults which are no more than 140 characters long.
5. They all have a 5 minute break
6. Austin The Rude logs on to twitter and randomly dishes out the insults to Welsh rugby supporters.
7. For every angry response Austin The Rude receives, England are rewarded 10 points, and Wales have 10 points deducted.
8. England and Ireland are also awarded 10 extra bonus points if Wales do better than them in any competition
9. If Wales beat any team more than 2 times consecutively, that team is automatically promoted above Wales in the IRB world rankings.
10. Australia, South Africa and New Zealand are each awarded 100 points, regardless.
And that’s it really. The process for selecting the World cup pools is equally simple:
1. Wales are placed in a pool with the World Champions and any team with a successful record against Wales in the World Cup
2. England are drawn in a pool with Papua New Guinea, The Vatican, The Nags Head Sunday XV and Scotland
3. The remaining pools are drawn randomly.