The only way Ireland replaces the Springboks at the top of the world rankings – permutations

Jared Wright
Ireland centre Bundee Aki after beating South Africa and a screenshot of the World Rugby rankings.

A look at the world rankings permutations.

South Africa will surrender top spot in the World Rugby rankings if the Springboks fall to a heavy defeat at the hands of Ireland – while the All Blacks could drop to an all-time low.

Test rugby is back in full swing this weekend as the Northern Hemisphere nations head south, which could have a major impact on the rankings.

The top two ranked sides on the planet collide in Pretoria this weekend and with it, the world number one tag is on the line, but Ireland would need a remarkable victory to move ahead of the world champions.

Meanwhile, if Steve Borthwick’s England charges claim a massive upset, they could send New Zealand tumbling down the rankings to an equal all-time low.

Here are the weekend’s permutations.

South Africa could lose top spot

Regardless of the result on Saturday, Ireland will remain as one of the top two sides in the world, but a convincing victory over the Springboks at Loftus Versfeld could see them return to the summit of the world rankings.

Andy Farrell’s side would need to beat Rassie Erasmus’ men by a margin of more than 15 points to trade places with the back-to-back World Cup winners with anything less seeing them remain in second place.

A win of any kind would be just Ireland’s second victory over the Boks in South Africa and if it is by 15 points or less, they close the rating gap to 0.49 points ahead of the second Test.

However, a narrow win for the hosts will see them extend their stronghold on top spot to 4.49 while a victory by more than 15 points will see them reach 95 rating points and pull 4.79 points clear of Ireland.

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Meanwhile, New Zealand have too much ground to make up to overtake Ireland even if they secure a hammering win over England.

But Scott Robertson’s side could drop to an equal all-time lowest ranking of fifth if England claim a win by more than 15 points and France draw or win their first Test match against Los Pumas in Argentina.

If England win by a lesser margin and France fall to the Pumas, then the Red Rose will trade places with the All Blacks.

Like New Zealand, Scotland cannot improve on their sixth place ranking with a win over Canada but they could still slip a place if Argentina beat France by more than 15 points.

READ MORE: All Blacks v England preview: ‘Genius’ Scott Robertson to begin reign with tight win over talented England side

World Rugby rankings as of 1 July 2024

1 South Africa 94.54
2 Ireland 90.69
3 New Zealand 89.80
4 France 87.92
5 England 85.97
6 Scotland 82.82
7 Argentina 80.68
8 Italy 79.41
9 Australia 77.48
10 Wales 77.26
11 Fiji 76.38
12 Japan 74.02
13 Georgia 74.02
14 Samoa 72.23
15 Tonga 71.57
16 Portugal 70.28
17 USA 67.94
18 Uruguay 67.39
19 Spain 64.37
20 Romania 61.66