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Wales fans respond to Pichot

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Welsh supporters respond to Agustin Pichot's world rankings comments

For the past 10 years, rugby’s world rankings have barely been mentioned by anyone – the All Blacks sat at the top and no one had a problem with that. But Wales’ ascent to the top of the rankings two weekends ago has now made it one of the most keenly discussed topics. 

Suddenly there has been swathes of criticism of the system, which has given Wales and Ireland the opportunity to climb to No1 over the past few weeks, a status they will contest again this weekend when they face each other in Cardiff.

Agustin Pichot, the vice-chairman of World Rugby, has now weighed in on the debate, claiming it is “ridiculous” how Wales can climb to No1 despite last beating the All Blacks in 1953. 

The former Argentina captain also said the ranking system does not treat either Italy or Los Pumas fairly as they have tougher schedules from respectively being in the Six Nations and the Rugby Championship.

Wales fans weren’t going to lie down and accept those comments, though, and they have responded on social media. A huge number of fans have said that Wales’ 14-match win streak over the past 15 months does not lie, that they have beaten the likes of South Africa, Australia and Ireland, all of whom have beaten the All Blacks in the past year. 

Many fans have also said that Pichot has not voiced his opinion in the past when the All Blacks sat at the top and that it is only because Wales are No1 that he is critical.

It seemed very unlikely that the former scrum-half was going to be able to pass these comments without facing a backlash, and that has indeed come from the Welsh fans who feel that Warren Gatland’s side are rightfully ranked No1. This is what has been said: 

In Pichot’s defence, he has only echoed what many fans, particularly from New Zealand, have been saying since the Grand Slam winners displaced Steve Hansen’s side. 

Many of the complaints have been that Wales have fortunately faced many of the top-ranked sides in Cardiff, which is a veritable fortress, while their away wins have come against the likes of Argentina, who have won three of their last 26 matches, and an experimental Springboks side in Washington. 

But all Wales could do was beat those teams, which they did, and they undoubtedly have the best record over the past year or so on paper. Whether they would beat the All Blacks or not is academic as they have not played. Ultimately, with the World Cup under a month away, these rankings will not be playing on the coaches’ minds too much. 

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Welsh supporters respond to Agustin Pichot's world rankings comments