The first round of the World Cup Repechage competition is finished and already there are clear lines drawn of who can advance, and who can’t. Despite having two rounds still to play the tournament could be wrapped up as early as Saturday, both officially or figuratively.
Canada’s blowout win over Kenya gave them the four-try bonus point and then some. It also puts them in pole position for advancement. To do so they will have to beat Germany on Saturday. A defeat would leave the window open mathematically speaking but it would depend on Kenya scoring an upset victory.
Hong Kong came up short to Germany but importantly did not pick up a losing bonus point. This means they will almost certainly need to score maximum points against Kenya in order to stay alive. If they can pick up a dominant win with the try bonus then it will set up a dizzying final round with numerous permutations that could require a tie-break. That process is clarified by World Rugby as follows:
In a situation where Canada, Hong Kong, and Germany are all tied on two wins and 9 competition points, a plausible scenario, the tie-break would be points differential. Canada’s massive 46-point positive against Kenya is a major positive in this regard that puts immense pressure on both Hong Kong and Germany.
Kenya while mathematically in the race will need to not only win their remaining matches convincingly but also hope that Canada loses at least once without gaining a bonus point. Given their problems in the scrum and Germany’s excellence in that area, this seems an unlikely scenario.
There is one scenario where the tournament is decided on Saturday. It would be officially over if the following conditions are met:
- Canada defeats Germany by more than 7 points
- Canada collects the four-try bonus point
- Germany fails to score four tries
- Hong Kong fails to score a four-try bonus point win over Kenya
In such a scenario Canada would have 10 competition points, with a maximum of only 9 points achievable by either Germany or Hong Kong. Meanwhile Kenya can only score a maximum of 10 points in their remaining games, but have already lost the head-to-head tie-break.
What if Canada loses? Mathematically they would still be in contention, particularly if they can pick up one or even two bonus points in defeat. Losing bonus points can be achieved be either losing by seven or less, or scoring four tries, or both.
In reality the tournament would then be out of Canada’s hands. Germany would have a minimum of 8 competition points and head-to-head wins over Hong Kong and Canada. They would then have to lose to Kenya in the finale, in which case the game between Canada and Hong Kong could become a de facto final presuming the Dragons defeat Kenya.
Hong Kong will play Kenya in the first match of the second round, meaning both Canada and Germany will have the advantage of knowing exactly what is at stake heading in. Whatever the outcome, the winner will be on very short odds to board the plane to Tokyo next September.
Story : Americas Rugby