This weekend’s Six Nations action at the Stadio Olimpico, Twickenham and Murrayfield is once again set to cause some movement on the World Rankings.
Indeed, we have Italy up against Wales before England play host to France in Le Crunch on Saturday, with Sunday seeing Ireland travel to Scotland.
World Rankings permutations
If the Azzurri beat Wales in the first game of the round they will become the higher-ranked of the two teams for the first time since February 2013.
Only on three previous instances have Italy been ranked above Wales (also in March and August 2007) but only for a combined total of four weeks.
While a victory would see the Azzurri move up three spots from their current ranking of 13th, Wales would fall out of the top 10 for the first time.
In fact, Warren Gatland’s troops could slip as low as 13th position if Kieran Crowley’s outfit defeat their visitors by a large enough margin in Rome.
On the flipside, a first Welsh victory of this Six Nations campaign would result in them climbing above Japan and into ninth position in the rankings.
That would subsequently see Italy will fall below Fiji and be ranked 14th if they go down on home soil, with this game set to be a fascinating contest.
England can go above Scotland
At Twickenham, a win or draw for England against France would be enough for them to swap places with Scotland if they lose to Ireland on Sunday.
But if both England (sixth) and Scotland (fifth) prevail over the weekend, England will only become the higher ranked of the nations, if their victory at Twickenham is by more than 15 points and Scotland fail to match that win margin against the high-flying Irish at Murrayfield less than 24 hours later.
Even with a maximum of 2.26 points on offer for a victory, Scotland can’t improve on fifth, as South Africa (fourth) are well over five points ahead.
Meanwhile, Steve Borthwick’s England are guaranteed to retain sixth place in the World Rankings even if they suffer a big home loss to the French.
On to Sunday and Ireland will retain top spot if they avoid defeat against Scotland at Murrayfield, even if France have come out on top over England.
Ireland’s lead could be extended to 3.09 points if France lose to England by more than 15 points and they defeat Scotland by at least as many points.
If that happens, southern hemisphere duo New Zealand and South Africa would move up one spot, to second and third, with France falling to fourth.
France will replace Ireland as the world’s best team though if they beat England and Ireland lose. However, Ireland can’t drop any lower than second.
In a best case scenario for France, they can lead the rankings by 1.40 points with it all to play for in the Six Nations and World Rankings this weekend.
Latest World Rugby rankings (as of 10/03/2023)
1. Ireland 91.33
2. France 89.47
3. New Zealand 88.98
4. South Africa 88.97
5. Scotland 83.26
6. England 83.11
7. Australia 81.80
8. Argentina 80.72
9. Japan 77.39
10. Wales 76.88
11. Samoa 76.03
12. Georgia 75.94
13. Italy 75.83
14. Fiji 74.84
15. Tonga 71.21
16. Portugal 67.92
17. Uruguay 66.24
18. USA 65.92
19. Spain 65.45
20. Romania 64.45