What happens if the All Blacks faced a World Cup finish like the Black Caps?

Publish Date
Sunday, 28 July 2019, 6:23PM


Everyone is still talking about the crazy tiebreaker which cost the Black Caps the Cricket World Cup final – but what would happen if the All Blacks faced a similarly close finish in the Rugby World Cup?

The dramatic Super Over at Lord's ended in heartbreak for the Black Caps after Martin Guptill was run out chasing the one run needed to win the Cup, with England being crowned champions for having scored more boundaries in their innings.

The head-scratching tiebreaker set by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in the tournament rules was slammed by many fans and pundits, who questioned the validity of deciding a six-week-long World Cup on the number of boundaries scored.

Don't worry though, the Rugby World Cup's tiebreaker is a lot more definitive, albeit quite a bit more complicated.

The tiebreaker during the Rugby World Cup, which kicks off in Japan in September, only applies to knockout games as points are awarded for draws during pool play.

If the score is tied after 80 minutes of play during knockout games, the two teams will then play an added 20 minutes of extra time (10 minutes each way).

If the two teams still can't be separated after extra time, a further 10 minutes of sudden-death extra time will be played – where the first team to score any points will be declared the winner.

If no points are scored in the sudden-death period, the match will be decided through a kicking competition. That's right, a kicking competition similar to a penalty shootout in football.

This has only ever happened once in professional rugby - in the 2009 Heineken Cup semifinal between the Cardiff Blues and the Leicester Tigers, where Leicester won 7-6 after the kicking competition went to sudden death. Yes, the kicking competition has a sudden-death component as well, just like penalties in football.

As explained by Radio Sport's rugby editor Nigel Yalden, the kicking competition to decide the winner starts off with five nominated kickers from each team - and could seem, to some, like a recipe for heartbreak.

"It's the five nominated [players] and there are set positions on the field [where each player kicks from]," Yalden told the Radio Sport Breakfast.

"And if at the end of those five, I think it's another two guys, one from each team, step forward and they take another shot and if they get it over, another two-step forward and it goes from there.

"That's my understanding of it. There are so many things in regards to that but that's the basics of it. They go until they get a winner, not a convoluted winner."

It's all very confusing but at least you get a clear winner unlike at the Cricket World Cup, where the Black Caps lost by zero runs. For a full explanation of what happens in the event of a tie, here are the full World Rugby guidelines (via rugby.com.au):

Rugby World Cup's tiebreaker for knockout matches

For quarter-finals, semifinals, the Bronze Final and the Final, if teams are tied at full-time, then the winner shall be determined through the following sequential criteria:

1. Extra time

Following an interval of 5 minutes, extra time of 10 minutes each way shall be played in full. Teams must remain on the Field of Play. The referee will conduct a coin toss and Team B will call the toss: winner to nominate to kick-off or which direction to play.

2. Sudden death

If the scores are tied at the conclusion of Extra Time, then following an interval of 5 minutes a further extra time of 10 minutes maximum shall be played. Teams swap ends and whichever Team kicked Extra Time also kicks off Sudden Death. During this period the first Team to score any points shall be declared the winner.

3. Kicking competition

If after Sudden Death no winner can be declared, a kicking competition will be organised between the two Teams. The winner of that competition shall be declared the winner of the Match.

According to the following procedures:

• All players and match officials will remain on the playing area. The referee will call the captains of the two teams together and will conduct a coin toss. The winner of the coin toss then may either choose which team kicks first (in which case the loser chooses the end at which all place kicks will be taken) or choose the end at which all place kicks will be taken (in which case the loser chooses which team kicks first).

• Each team must nominate five players to take part in the competition. Only players on the playing area at the final whistle of extra time may be nominated. No substituted players, injury-replaced players or players who have been shown a red card may take part at any time. For clarification purposes, any player who has received a yellow card and who remains in the sin bin at the time of the final whistle of extra time may not take part in the place kick competition (including during 'sudden death'). The order in which the nominated players will kick does not have to be pre-determined.

• The match officials and the 10 nominated players (five from each team) will assemble on the half-way line. Team management and players not nominated must remain behind the half-way line in the side of the playing area not used. No one other than the match officials, the match manager, two ball persons and the participating players are allowed in the part of the playing area being used for the competition (including around the playing area, behind the posts, etc).

• The five players from each team will place kick from three different points, all on the 22 metre line, as follows:

- First point: directly in front of the posts

- Second point: on the 15-metre line on the left-hand side facing the posts

- Third point: on the 15-metre line on the right-hand side facing the posts

• The referee will start the competition by calling the first player selected from the team kicking first to the first kicking point. Once the player has taken the place kick, the referee calls a player from the opposing team to take his place kick from the same point.

• The next two players (one from each team) will place kick from the second point in turn. This will continue until all five players from each team have place kicked (the next players place kicking respectively from the third point, the first point and finally the second point), or until one team is unable to equal the score of the other team within the remaining number of kicks (at which time the referee will declare the winner).

• If there are an equal number of successful kicks once each team has completed its five place kicks, the competition continues on a "sudden-death" basis, following the same order of kickers used in the first five kicks.

• The competition will continue two kickers at a time (one from each team), going progressively through the three kicking points as stated above (and repeating the process if necessary) until one player succeeds with a place kick and the player from the other team taking the same place kick misses it. Once this occurs, the team of the player who succeeded with the place kick will be declared the winner. Each of these additional kicks shall be taken by the same five players in rotation.

Throughout the place-kicking competition:

• Once a player has positioned the ball on the kicking tee, he must take the kick within one minute. Should he take longer, the referee shall declare the kick unsuccessful.

• After each kick, the referee records the number of the player and whether or not the attempt was successful. The sideline manager/substitution recorder will record the same details on the official match report.

• Whether or not the kick is successful in each case is the sole decision of the referee, who may at his sole discretion rely on the assistance of his assistant referees. The referee's decision shall be final and binding.

• Once a player has completed their place kick, they shall return to stand with their team behind the half-way line in the side of the playing area not used.

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission

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