The year of the world cups – cricket, women’s football, netball and too many others to mention – would not be complete without just one more: the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

And just to make sure that nobody forgets about it, there has been a string of warm-up games (football calls them friendlies) played around the globe over the past few weeks.

Rugby does not do friendlies but who exactly benefitted from Italy’s 85-15 win over Russia isn’t clear and one result that appears to have sparked more interest than any others came in Cardiff.

Wales defeated England and can now claim the honour of being rated the world’s number one.

But are world rankings worth the paper they are written on?

A week ago Wales had to beat England at Twickenham to leapfrog New Zealand and become the World Number One nation. They lost 33-19.

On Saturday they beat England 13-6 in the return warm-up in Cardiff and the headlines read: ‘Victory puts Wales on Top of the World’, and Welsh go to No.1 in the world.

That was the same day that the All Blacks thrashed Australia 36-0 – just like Wales, avenging a previous week’s defeat at the hands of the same opponents.

So how does that work? Are Wales now the bookies’ favourites to win the World Cup or is this ‘title’ just something to talk about in the club bars?

Wales coach Warren Gatland reckons the status will upset New Zealand who had held the top ranking the position for ten years but Wales won’t be making a fuss.

“It’s just a number,” said Gatland.

Which is probably just as well since upsetting the All Blacks is not such a good idea. Australia did that just two weeks ago and were then walloped 36-0 at Eden Park for their trouble.

However they are dressed up, these games are simply trials before the main event.

Wales are now number one for the first time. Bringing home to Cardiff the Webb Ellis Trophy – which would also be for the first time – will make it official.

Otherwise, there is every chance that we will be talking about New Zealand as the real World Number One again.

*The Premier League season is only two games old and already one manager is under pressure.

A 3-1 loss at Norwich following a 1-0 home defeat by Arsenal forced new Newcastle boss Steve Bruce to cancel his team’s Sunday off for an inquest into what was widely described as an abject performance at Carrow Road.

Alan Shearer strongly advised his friend to avoid the job at all costs but Bruce wouldn’t listen. The pull to manage his home town club was too strong.

After the Norwich collapse the Newcastle boss said: “I can’t forgive a performance where basically you don’t put your boots on.”

Even under the three-year reign of crowd favourite Rafa Benitez Newcastle never came remotely close to winning anything but the majority of the regular 50,000 fans were sorry to see him go.

Will they ever feel the same about Steve Bruce?

If it is any comfort to the former Manchester United defender it took the Championship THREE games into the new season to come up with its first managerial casualty, Huddersfield’s Jan Siewert was shown the door after a 2-1 home defeat by Fulham.