Wednesday 28 June 2017

What France's dramatic win over Wales means for Ireland's World Cup hopes

France's players celebrate after beating Wales
France's players celebrate after beating Wales

Conor Neville

We've known for a long time that this weekend would decide the seedings for the 2019 World Cup.

While the bulk of Irish fans have been naturally preoccupied with events in Dublin, those with an eye on the world rankings will have nervously been keeping an eye on events in Paris. 

Thus far, 12 teams are officially deemed qualified for the 2019 World Cup. The Six Nations sides and the four Rugby Championship teams plus Georgia and the hosts Japan.

Ireland are currently ranked 4th in the world and thus reside in Pot 1 alongside New Zealand, England and Australia.

Pot 2 is comprised of Scotland, Wales, South Africa and France. Pot 3 contains 9th ranked Argentina, the hosts Japan, Italy and Georgia.

There are eight places still to be filled. They are up for grabs in qualifying over the next couple of years. Ireland have some experience of qualifying, having had to dispatch a couple of minnows to earn a place at the 2003 World Cup.

Had Wales beaten France in the Stade de France today, they would have leaped above both Scotland and Ireland and nailed down a place a 1st seeds.

Ireland would then have needed to beat England to reclaim their place in Pot 1. A French win would have helped everyone relax. Irish fans presumably spent the bulk of that never-ending overtime period demanding a penalty try.

Ultimately, the French replacement hooker Camille Chat got over to claim a 20-18 victory thus guaranteeing Ireland's place in Pot 1`of the 2019 World Cup, regardless of what happens in South Dublin over the next couple of hours.

Ireland cannot now be drawn with New Zealand, Australia or England in the pool phase in 2019.

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