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Ireland, not Wales, are now the main Celtic power of rugby (if we didn't know that already)

How do you conclude NZ are above everyone except france? We lost big time to Ireland without threatening to look like we were a chance of winning at any point. We won one lost one against a tired South African team. The year before we lost to Argentina and Australia. And we have pretty much not managed to deal with rush defence since 2017
As ncurd said, I’m not really able to comprehend New Zealand not being a favorite.

It’s like saying france doesn’t have a chance of making a semifinal. They could lose 20 games in a row going into the World Cup and I’d still believe that they’d somehow go on a run.
 
I think the 2008-2015 era ABs live rent free in many fans heads (especially their own).
Not to mention the 2000-2008 era ABs.
And the 1990s ABS.
Not forgetting the 1980s ABs, of course.

They may have developed a reputation for choking, but there's certainly not been a single RWC where NZ weren't favourites, or at worst, co-favourites.
 
Not to mention the 2000-2008 era ABs.
And the 1990s ABS.
Not forgetting the 1980s ABs, of course.
Were early 2000's to mid 2000's ABs considered absolute vintage? Like they were good don't get me wrong but I seam to remember they were just nosing ahead in best team categories but its that 2005 (but screw up in 2007) onwards where they really solidified as bloody unbeatable. Basically Carter's and McCaw's reign of terror once they became established players/leaders.

1990's backwards is where my brain doesn't really go to.
 
Were early 2000's to mid 2000's ABs considered absolute vintage? Like they were good don't get me wrong but I seam to remember they were just nosing ahead in best team categories but its that 2005 (but screw up in 2007) onwards where they really solidified as bloody unbeatable. Basically Carter's and McCaw's reign of terror once they became established players/leaders.

1990's backwards is where my brain doesn't really go to.
England burnished their aura of invulnerability with that humdinger in Wellington, June 2003 - but... yes, yes they were. Maybe a step below 2008-2015, but then, so is pretty much every team of every team sport in all of history.

My rugby memories start in the mid-80s; and NZ have always been the team to beat, the best in the world, with an aura about them. Pretty much no-one has ever gone into a match against NZ as actual favourites, as assessed by neutrals.
 
I think the two of us have been in an arm wrestle for it since 00 if we accept that as the year Scottish rugby took a dive after a strong 90s.

There's definitely an argument, and a strong one for Wales internationally, two world cup semi finals and two more grand slams. Conversely our test win rate is far far better and we're ranked higher more often than not. Ireland are a very inconsistent team, look at 2018 to 2019 or the 2016 autumn series to the 2017 6 Nations and its cost us silverware for sure. Wales on the other hand generally go well for a while, followed by a weaker period and have churned out as many bad teams as they have good teams in the past 20 years, I feel like Ireland are generally middling to good with 07-08 and 2013 the exceptions where we were pretty poor.

It's obviously a fairly arbitrary ***le but as a 6n power you'd probably back Wales (and I still would, they'll be better than us again at some point in the next 4 years) but given our far superior record against the SH sides I think we shade it internationally in the past 20 years. I think a Wales fan would give up a grand slam to beat NZ, we've done it three times and reached point a slam would be a bigger achievement for us now.
It wasn't so much that Scottish rugby was that wonderful in the 90's - yes they won the 5N twice and reached the 1991 RWC semi-final, but they didn't do that much in the interim. Rather, it was that Irish and Welsh rugby were both utterly dire.

It seems that Wales turn up more for the tournaments, but Ireland are more consistent and successful (relatively speaking) the rest of the time as well, i.e. Summer and Autumn Internationals.
 
My 2 pence.
Ireland and France have some clear daylight between the rest of the 6 nations in quality at the moment, probably have France a shade better than Ireland but it's close.
NZ while obviously still very good aren't the all conquering force they were before, I would still put them as one of the favourites for the world cup but France and Ireland have the quality to beat them.
Not sure about SA to be honest, covid period hasn't been good for them, I fully expect them to pump Wales in the summer but I'm not sure they would be my favourites for the World Cup currently.
 
My 2 pence.
Ireland and France have some clear daylight between the rest of the 6 nations in quality at the moment, probably have France a shade better than Ireland but it's close.
NZ while obviously still very good aren't the all conquering force they were before, I would still put them as one of the favourites for the world cup but France and Ireland have the quality to beat them.
Not sure about SA to be honest, covid period hasn't been good for them, I fully expect them to pump Wales in the summer but I'm not sure they would be my favourites for the World Cup currently.

I don't think SA are likely to win either. The total dominance of our two packs has not exactly been translated into any sort of awe-inspiring point margin recently. Too many opportunities are squandered and, sadly, I don't think the attacking dimension is going to improve. Nienaber's natural defensive inclinations are always gonna stifle to a degree. Furthermore, I'm not at all overwhelmed with our incumbent 10.
 
South Africa's weird. Other than scrum half, their spine is just a collection of dudes. Other than that they are world class or just below at every position (Kolisi is one more injury from being a Sexton out there though). Depends whether the water boy can come up with a solid gameplan this time around.
 
Hope so. I've got to be honest, it would bother the hell out of me if he jumped over to coach England at any point. Probably irrational but I can't help it because I am, in many ways, a colossal idiot.
 
U are delusional thinking ireland are even in top 3 in the world.u say Sa are shite yet they beat the all blacks in Nz last year something ireland has never done.top 3 in the world are SA Nz and France in prob that order.but then again this time of year this close to a WC all u Nh fans seem to think ur teams the best.yet every single World Cup u get smashed and proven on the world stage ireland is 5th at best.u slag wales yet ireland hasn’t coke close to achieving what wales has in rugby.
You keep going back the the past? Wales are pretty bad ATM and Ireland are playing good rugby. What does it matter who's achieved more in the passed going forward?

France look the next level to England Wales Scotland. Playing great rugby and you dismiss them. Ireland pushed France close and have beat NZ recent and you dismiss them, yes ireland havnt done well in WC years, hell its a running joke, but doesnt mean they are not good.

Nz lost to ireland in the autumn right? And to France in the autumn right?

SA lost to a rather average England right? And twice to Australia in october 2021 right?

France won a clear Granslam right? Beating all the teams that beat NZ and SA.

But no ireland and France are no where near the SH team.....

For the record im not saying that France ireland would beat SA or NZ im saying they are all top teams and alot better than your making out. Im baing it on more recent form
 
You keep going back the the past? Wales are pretty bad ATM and Ireland are playing good rugby. What does it matter who's achieved more in the passed going forward?

France look the next level to England Wales Scotland. Playing great rugby and you dismiss them. Ireland pushed France close and have beat NZ recent and you dismiss them, yes ireland havnt done well in WC years, hell its a running joke, but doesnt mean they are not good.

Nz lost to ireland in the autumn right? And to France in the autumn right?

SA lost to a rather average England right? And twice to Australia in october 2021 right?

France won a clear Granslam right? Beating all the teams that beat NZ and SA.

But no ireland and France are no where near the SH team.....

For the record im not saying that France ireland would beat SA or NZ im saying they are all top teams and alot better than your making out. Im baing it on more recent form

anyone can beat anyone right now....anyone in the top 4 should be able to call a challenge for the RWC and as long as they pay for it the top 4 all have to come together to fight it out
 
At some point we might have a Exeter, Gloucester, Bath and Bristol all in the top 6 of the table and then they would be a mighty super power!

The midlands could also do it, Saints, tigers, wasps and Worcester (maybe).
 

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