South Africa and Argentina lurk as potential “pool of death” groupmates for the All Blacks at the next Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019.
The last weekend of international rugby was notable not just for deciding the Six Nations’ final pecking order, a potential historic second straight Grand Slam and England’s tilt at outright ownership of the record for consecutive victories by a tier-one nation.
It was also the cutoff point for the world rankings that will determine the seedings bands of four for the next RWC, with the draw to take place on May 10 in Kyoto.
The top four sides (guaranteed to be in different pools in Japan), determined after the weekend’s action, are (in order) New Zealand, England, Australia and Ireland. That’s a fair-ish reflection of current trends in the game, though of course may have no relevance come 2019.