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Irish Defeat NZ - 2014

In probability theory one reads of The Law of Inevitability that states that something must happen. The Law explains that weird events have the same probability as so called normal ones. But this Law does not guarantee that New Zealand will win every Rugby World Cup, as demonstrated by the women’s team failing to qualify for the semi-final round in 2014’s WRWC.  

Before this past Saturday’s third and final pool play, the rugby world was confident that the Black Ferns, after a victory against the Eagles, would attain the fourth semi-final spot by having more total points (game and bonus) than any other 2-1 team. And many postulated that an embarrassed New Zealand XV, losing in this year’s Cup play to Ireland, its first loss since 1991, would be doubly motivated to win the Cup.

But it did not happen. Why? Because in a scenario that no one predicted, Canada and England tied, so each team stood 2-0-1 in the pool, generating 12 points, one more than 2-1 New Zealand with 11 points maximum.

Without New Zealand in the semis, the chances increase significantly that host nation France can beat Canada, and also continue to defeat the winner of the Ireland-England match. Probable? Maybe. Inevitable? Not at all.