Best team never to win a World Cup

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Best team never to win a World Cup

Postby Lizard » Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:41 pm

Heretofore, it has been universally acknowledged that three-time finalist, no-time winner France is the best team never to win Bill.

If Ireland don’t win next year, I think they will become strong contenders for this title.

France has never been as dominant over other title-contenders as Ireland is right now. On the other hand, France has been in the mix in every RWC except perhaps 2015 and 1991 when they were knocked out in the QFs.
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Re: Best team never to win a World Cup

Postby Puja » Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:20 pm

I see Ireland as being where England were in 2002 - a rising power that's just slowly starting to believe that they might be the best team in the world. Doesn't guarantee the same result, of course, but this is their opportunity and one which they must not forgo. I think if you look historically, you'd have to say France though - Ireland were lucky to reach quarter finals for chunks of the 90s and 2000s.

Here's an interesting question (and what I thought this thread was going to be) - what's the best team from your nation not to win the RWC? It's a hard one to answer for England. Completely off the pace in 87, so that's out. Got to the final of 91 but were we really any good or just lucky in our draw? 1995 was one good game against Australia and bog all else. 1999 was a decent side and the beginnings of the 2000-2003 dynasty, but came up short whenever they met a SH side. 2007 was pulled down by the opening loss to SA, but somehow came back through grit and determination to beat better teams. 2011 underperformed all the way through. And, of course, we don't talk about 2015.

I think it would have to be 2007 for us. Not really the most talented team (although I would murder someone to have even 2007 edition Robinson and Gomarsall back again), but after the loss to SA and the player revolt, they forced their way to the brink of the title by sheer willpower alone.

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Re: Best team never to win a World Cup

Postby Lizard » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:00 am

I agree that France have spent longer being capable of winning (basically 1987-2011) than Ireland, but I think 2019 Ireland will be relatively speaking better than any previous French RWC team (France was ranked #2 in the world leading up to RWC2007 though).

As for the best NZ team not to win, I would say 1995, easily. Most of that team would have been contenders for a World's Best XV - Lomu of course, Fitzpatrick, Olo Brown, Ian Jones, Zinzan & Robin Brooke, Kronfeld, Mehrtens, Bunce, Jeff Wilson. The final was nearest run thing, not to mention "Suzy" and the political/emotional circumstances in which the Springboks were playing.

1991: Complacent and carrying a few average players (Craig Innes, Kieran Crowley, John Timu, Mark Carter etc.)
1999: Badly coached. In the forwards there was only so far that J. Kronfeld, I. Jones and R. Brooke could carrythe likes of Hoeft, Dowd, Meeuws, Feek, Hammett, Oliver, Norm Maxwell, Royce Willis, Blowers, Mika, Reuben Thorne, Randell, Robertson. And if the backs did get the ball, we had Cullen at centre, FFS.
2003: Not a bad side on paper, but I suspect some of the names stand out more now than they did back then.
2007: No recollection of this one. So shut up.
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Re: Best team never to win a World Cup

Postby cashead » Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:27 am

1995 was easily the best All Black side to never win the World Cup, and the results from 1996 and 1997, when the majority of those guys ran rampant over their SANZAR counterparts does raise some questions. Regardless of whether or not they were deliberately poisoned, it was clear they were running on fumes in the final. But then, the team that needed to win it did, so it is what it is.

1999 - Not just poorly coached, but questionable selections, further hindered by mass retirements in 1997/98. The key thing missing, IMO was leadership, and I do wonder what a pack of Dowd, Hewett (let's assume he got the help he needed after his public, drunken meltdown instead of being hung out to dry by a callous NZRU leadership) and Meeuws up front, Jones and R Brooke right behind, and a loosie trio of Blackadder, Kronfeld and Randell (or a Zinzan Brooke talked into delaying his departure to England by a couple of years) would have faired in that semifinal when the French went berserk.

2003- Strong team on paper, as Liz said, but flimsy depth in the midfield (ironically, Muliaina probably would've been more suitable there instead of MacDonald once Umaga went down with injury) and far too wrought with personal politics (Mehrts/Cullen v. Deans comes to mind). While a lot of these guys went on to be legit greats, like Carter, McCaw, Nonu, Mealamu, etc., they were still at the start of their test careers and clearly hadn't developed the mental toughness required at the top level. Like, man-to-man, they'd have compared well against England, but as the Wellington result and the semifinal outcome shows, they lacked the nous and mental toughness when it mattered.

2007 - Great side on paper, but with some key weaknesses, and a novice captain that really was only just cutting his teeth in the dark arts of captaining. As frustrating as the result was, it was absolutely vital in establishing the 2011~2015 dynasty. The worst performing side, ironically, is probably one of the most historically important teams in All Black history.
Last edited by cashead on Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Best team never to win a World Cup

Postby Lizard » Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:13 am

Yep. I think the mid-90s thinking (rightly) was that the series win in South Africa in’96 was as important a goal, if not more so, as a World Cup win.
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Re: Best team never to win a World Cup

Postby cashead » Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:10 pm

Here's one - what's the worst team to ever win the World Cup?

I'd say it's easily the 2007 Springboks team, taking into account their pre-tournament form, and the majority of their post-tournament performances.
At the tournament itself, they didn't play a team ranked higher than 5th (I think England in the final, on their "fuck you all" miracle run would've been their toughest opponents), and despite the insane crowing of their fanbase on one of the previous incarnations of the board ("Hilton Lobberts played well for the Bulls! Great player or greatest player! Everyone with a South African passport is a world class player!") and barring their very short peak of "a few months in 2009," they were just, kind of there post-tournament.

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Re: Best team never to win a World Cup

Postby Lizard » Mon Dec 10, 2018 11:26 pm

Yep. Certainly the 2007 Boks had the easiest run in.
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Re: Best team never to win a World Cup

Postby cashead » Tue Dec 11, 2018 12:12 am

I also like to take into account their post-tournament form, unless there are significant mitigating factors (like the 2003 England team, where 2004 onwards, they were almost an entirely different side), and you'd have to really dig to find a team that did worse than that lot. To an extent, they were also architects of their own descent into mediocrity, and all things considered, a quarterfinal exit at the next tournament was a fair reflection on that side.

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Re: Best team never to win a World Cup

Postby Lizard » Tue Dec 11, 2018 12:35 am

Agreed again. Here is a list of RWC winners with their success rate from winning the trophy until until their last match before the next RWC, and their result at the following RWC:

1987 NZ: 89.6%, 3rd
1991 Aust: 83.3%, QF exit
1995 SA: 68.8%, 3rd
1999 Aust: 61.8%, 2nd
2003 Eng: 40.0%, 2nd
2007 SA: 61.4%, QF exit
2011 NZ: 91.5, 1st
2015* NZ: 86.9%*, ??
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Re: Best team never to win a World Cup

Postby Lizard » Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:29 am

If you look at the results, I think you have to say:

France is the best team to never win (losing 3 finals - no other team has played even 1 final without winning)

Wales is the best side to never make the final (losing 2 SFs, for a 3rd and a 4th. Argentina has the same record in SFs but loses the tie break by having made 1 fewer QFs than Wales)

Scotland is the best side never to do better than 4th (because no other team has peaked at 4th)

Ireland is the best team to not make a SF (losing 6 QFs. The other QFists to never win are Fiji & Samoa with 2 each, and Canada with 1).

Best team to never make the playoffs is Italy (3rd in its pool 7 times, and 4th in 1999 when 3rd could have been enough to get into the weird playoff round caused by having 5 pools. Next best is Tonga with 4 third place pool finishes).
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Re: Best team never to win a World Cup

Postby cashead » Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:41 am

Even 2015 Ireland should've done better than they did, IMO. In fairness to them though, they went through a physically tough pool that cost them a lot, and by the time they hit the QFs, they had lost 1/3 of their starting XV. They did really well to even get as close as they did to beating a rampant Argentine side that day. That win over France in the pools in particular really knocked the crap out of them. Except for Sean O'Brien. He deserved to be suspended. What was he thinking would happen when he marched up to Pape(I think), and just straight up punched him in the stomach?

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Re: Best team never to win a World Cup

Postby Lizard » Tue Dec 11, 2018 2:01 am

Ireland have not been done many favours in RWC draws. In ‘87 and ‘91 they were knocked out by a good vintage Wallabies side. ‘95 they had NZ and Wales in their pool, then a QF v France. ‘99 they got mugged by Arg in a penalty-fest (7 PGs apiece!). ‘03 & ‘07 were pool of death scenarios. ‘11 they played their final against Australia in the pool stages.

They’ve never had the likes of Canada, Fiji or Samoa in the Quarters - but mind you neither have Wales, England or Argentina.
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