All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says that he’s never understood World Rugby’s ranking system after the All Blacks lost their No 1 position to Wales over the weekend.
Having clinched the Bledisloe Cup for the 17th year in a row, after shutting out the Wallabies 36-0 at Eden Park, Hansen reacted to the news that the All Blacks had been overtaken as the best side in the world for the first time in almost a decade.
‘How do you work that out?’ a perplexed Hansen asked the media a day after the All Blacks’ dominant victory over their Australian rivals.
‘We won the [Bledisloe] Cup last night and lost the rankings. Ask yourself how that works. I’ve never understood their system. You win a game and you lose the top ranking?’
‘When you sit back, it’s something that’s going to happen anyway – the top-ranked sides are playing each other in the northern hemisphere, and you get more points if you beat top sides.’
Having defeated England 13-6 in Cardiff on Saturday, after being beaten 33-19 by the same opposition a week before, Wales moved ahead of the All Blacks into top spot for the first time since the ranking system was introduced back in 2003.
Although he sees the classification as being flawed, Hansen did not seem too concerned about the All Blacks losing their top spot, and instead opted to place added pressure on the new best team in the world.
‘They’ve been great, no problem. Now they’ve got the expectation. They’re the No 1 team in the world taking it into the World Cup. It couldn’t be better timing.’
Wales coach Warren Gatland acknowledged the achievement for the Welsh but did not make too big of a fuss about it, choosing instead to focus on his side’s preparation for the World Cup.
‘It’s just a number, isn’t it,’ said Gatland after the victory over the English at the Principality Stadium.
‘It is a nice accolade to have, but it is all about the next few months and backing that up by performing well in the World Cup.’
Picture: Dan Peled/EPA