The All Blacks have effectively clinched the Tri Nations title thanks to their bonus-point victory over Argentina at Newcastle on Saturday night – barring a miracle in the final game of the tournament between the Pumas and the Wallabies.
Ian Foster’s men, under intense pressure after two successive defeats, got revenge against the Pumas with a dominant 38-0 win in their final test of the year.
It leaves the All Blacks five points clear at the top of Tri Nations ladder, with two wins and two losses, leaving Argentina and Australia with monumental task if they are to claim the trophy.
However, there is still technically a mathematical chance, albeit a highly unlikely one, that both Argentina and Australia could still win the Tri Nations from New Zealand.
The All Blacks’ vastly superior points differential – thanks to two thrashings in their only two wins of the competition – along with three crucial bonus points, means they’re sitting pretty at the top of the table with 11 points and a massive point differential of 64.
Both Argentina and Australia are on six competition points in the ladder with negative point differentials.
Under the competition rules outlined by Tri Nations organisers SANZAAR, the first tiebreaker if two or more teams finish on equal competition points is determined by the team with the most wins in the series.
If the first tiebreaker doesn’t provide a clear winner, the table is determined by the team with the most wins against the other team/s tied on the same points.
The third tiebreaker, and the one that will ultimately matter at the end of this year’s competition, is points differential.
Both Argentina and Australia have only one loss so far, but haven’t scored any bonus points in each of their first three games.
So even a bonus-point victory for either team in the final match of the competition may not be enough for both Argentina and Australia.
In fact, Argentina will require a 93-point margin of victory over the Wallabies, while Australia will need a 101-point margin of victory, meaning the All Blacks have all but secured the second trophy of the Foster era.
The Pumas take on the Wallabies on Saturday at 9.45pm.
The All Blacks’ first two Bledisloe Cup tests of the year against the Wallabies – a draw in Wellington and a win in Auckland – were not part of the Tri Nations and have no bearing in the standings.
Tri Nations standings
1. All Blacks – 11 pts (2 wins, 2 losses, +64 points difference)
2. Los Pumas – 6 pts (1 win, 1 draw, 1 loss, -28 points difference)
3. Wallabies – 6 pts (1 win, 1 draw, 1 loss, -36 points difference)
Biggest defeats in rugby history
Argentina or Australia will require a historic win to steal the Tri Nations from the All Blacks.
Here are ten of the biggest defeats in rugby history:
Namibia – 142 points (142-0 to Australia, 2003 Australia World Cup)
Romania – 134 points (134-0 to England, Romanian 2001 End of Year Tour)
Uruguay – 131 points (134-3 to South Africa, Uruguayan 2005 Summer Tour)
Japan – 128 points (145-17 to New Zealand, 1995 South Africa World Cup)
Tonga – 102 points (102-0 to New Zealand in Tongan 2000 Summer Tour)
Italy – 101 points (101-0 to South Africa, Italian 1999 Summer Tour)
USA – 98 points (106-8 to England, American 1999 End of Year Tour)
Portugal – 95 points (108-13 to New Zealand, 2007 French World Cup)
Fiji – 91 points (91-0 to New Zealand, Fijian 2005 Summer Tour)
Samoa – 87 points (101-14 to New Zealand, Samoan 2008 Summer Tour)
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