World Rugby’s rankings have been released following the first round of the Autumn Nations Series. But how do they compare with the Power Rankings for 2022?
Planet Rugby teams up with Two Cents for these rankings, which give more weight to recent results, strength of opposition as well as home and away factors.
Take a look at the piece and video from the YouTube favourite as he goes through the world rankings and then 2022 Power Rankings. Let us know your thoughts.
Power Rankings (Tier One Nations)
1 France (World Ranking 2nd): It wasn’t the most convincing performance from the French at home over Australia, but the best teams always seem to find a way in games just like this. They may not have had the toughest run of fixtures in 2022 – but the French are still the only unbeaten team of the Tier One nations this year with an eight from eight record. Only South Africa and Japan stand between them and a perfect season.
2 Ireland (World Ranking 1st): Ireland’s hard-fought win over South Africa cemented their spot atop World Rugby’s rankings for another week at least. Ireland have had some of the toughest fixtures this year, and yet their record is still phenomenal, with their only losses coming away to France and New Zealand. Seven wins is second only to France, and with the away series win over the All Blacks, their form is just as impressive.
3 New Zealand (World Ranking 3rd): The All Blacks seem to love playing Wales, and this result came at just the right time for Ian Foster. Nothing quietens down the pressure from New Zealand media like a big win, and that’s exactly what they achieved. Third place on the rankings seems fair at this point of their season. The series loss to Ireland and defeats to South Africa and Argentina still linger, but the Rugby Championship trophy in the cabinet and away wins to start their northern tour means things seem to be looking up.
4 South Africa (World Ranking 4th): The Springboks went into Dublin with the chance to regain the number one spot in the world but fell just short. Jacques Nienaber’s men aren’t far off the pace. With a record of six wins and four losses in 2022, overall things are still positive, but losses at home to Wales and not putting the killer blow on a seemingly down and out All Blacks side during the Rugby Championship means they’re just that one step away from the top three. Their trip to France this week gives them a great chance to reassert themselves.
5 Argentina (World Ranking 6th): Michael Cheika’s Argentina side are just quietly accumulating the wins in 2022. They didn’t manage to sweep the Scots in July, nor did they manage to avoid the wooden spoon in the Rugby Championship. However, a first win in over England at Twickenham since 2006, a first win over the All Blacks in New Zealand combined with a record this year of five and five means they’re not a team anyone should be taking lightly. It’s been a massive step up from 2021 for Los Pumas and if they can keep up this momentum they could be a genuine contender in France next year.
Three big games await for England
6 England (World Ranking 5th): It’s all been a bit lacklustre from England thus far in 2022. The high point of that away series win in Australia squeezed in between a disappointing Six Nations campaign and now losing at home to Argentina sums up their year. If Eddie Jones has a master plan to have England peaking at the Rugby World Cup next year, he’s doing a good job of keeping his plans well hidden. With Japan, New Zealand and South Africa on the horizon, it’s quite possible England finish 2022 with a losing record. Three big games however would quiet the critics down, at least until the build-up to the Six Nations starts.
7 Scotland (World Ranking 8th): Their recent win over Fiji was solid without being spectacular. There’s not much between the Scots and the Australians at this point of the year in terms of rankings. Scotland are still a frustrating team that “could beat anyone on their day”, which has been the case for all too long. Consistency continues to elude Gregor Townsend. With the All Blacks coming to town this weekend, they’ll need to take their game up to the levels they usually save for England. The return of Finn Russell could be a bit of magic if he and the coach are on the same page.
8 Australia (World Ranking 7th): A bit harsh on Australia to drop them as low as eighth, especially on the back of that cracking effort against the French which saw them fall one point short. The reality though for Dave Rennie is that his Wallabies have four wins and seven losses in 2022, which kind of like Scotland sees them still frustratingly inconsistent. Rennie hasn’t been helped by the absence of some key men during the season, but ultimately his record is still underwhelming. Two wins from their final three games on tour would at least end the year on a bit of a high.
9 Wales (World Ranking 9th): After another disappointing showing against the All Blacks, it’s tempting to drop Wales even lower than ninth spot. Wayne Pivac’s recall of several veteran players didn’t have the desired result. Even the recent knack of saving their best for the final 20 minutes didn’t eventuate when they conceded three tries. The away win in South Africa was a bright spot this year but feels like a long time ago at this point. They have a great chance to bounce back against a classy Argentina outfit this weekend, which may show us more where Wales are at than last week against the All Blacks.
10 Italy (World Ranking 14th): It was nice to see Italy put someone else to the sword for a change at the weekend, although they have tougher games on the horizon. Especially encouraging was seeing so many players under 25 years old stepping up at Test level. Italy’s record in 2022 in terms of pure wins and losses is better than Wales, however Romania, Portugal and Samoa were among the scalps, along with a loss to Georgia. Italy’s only Tier One victory was over Wales, and that fact keeps them in this spot for now.
11 Japan (World Ranking 10th): The fact that Japan were the only Tier One team not in action at the weekend highlights their lack of game time compared to the Six Nations and Rugby Championship sides. Instead, Japan have had to make do with a tour from Australia A to get extra minutes into their players. The Brave Blossoms’ only Test wins this season have been against Uruguay, but they did have good showings against France and the All Blacks at home. Still, it’s harder to know where they’re at with only five Tests while other Tier One sides have already played nine-eleven games this year.