Monday, October 3, 2022

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Rugby Championship: what happens if all four teams finish level?

It is conceivable, though unlikely, that all four Rugby Championship teams could finish with 14 points after the final round of fixtures this weekend in the uphill battle for supremacy in the Southern Hemisphere.

It’s more likely that two teams will lead the log, but either way, what are the competition rules on splitting teams?

New Zealand and South Africa currently lead the standings with 14 points, followed by Australia (10) and Argentina (9).

The Wallabies travel to Auckland to take on New Zealand on Saturday, after which South Africa host Argentina in Durban, where they will know exactly what is needed to lift the trophy.

If the Springboks and All Blacks both win as expected, it could depend on who can manage a try bonus point, which is awarded if you get three more tries than your opponents.


Assuming they both do it or not, the first tiebreaker is the number of league wins, which won’t be helpful in this case because permutations in any form suggest that two or more teams would still be tied.

The second differentiator is the number of wins between the teams in question, but again, that’s unlikely to help.

New Zealand and South Africa have each won a Test against each other, and if Australia and Argentina take the challenge this weekend, it will be the same across the board.

The next tiebreaker is point difference throughout the series and here New Zealand have the upper hand.

They are on +41 and can reasonably only be caught by South Africa (+28). Australia (-26) and Argentina (-43) are far behind.

If the results see the level of the Springboks’ claw with the All Blacks on this scoreline, the next tiebreaker is the points difference in games between these teams only.

Here, the Boks hold the advantage by beating New Zealand 49-45 in their two matches. Australia would also likely edge out New Zealand with a win after losing 39-37 last weekend.

A tiebreaker after that shouldn’t be necessary, but would be the number of tries scored in the series. If this is also equal, then the trophy is shared.

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