World rankings permutations: England seek to move up, Scotland aim for historic high and Ireland look to stay in touch with Springboks

Colin Newboult
Head coaches for England (Steve Borthwick), Scotland (Gregor Townsend) and Ireland (Andy Farrell).

Head coaches for England (Steve Borthwick), Scotland (Gregor Townsend) and Ireland (Andy Farrell).

South Africa’s gap at the top of the World Rugby rankings will remain stable for now, but they may be joined by a new name in the top-four.

The Springboks, Ireland, New Zealand and France have very much been the dominant forces in the game over the past couple of years, but Les Bleus are at risk of dropping down.

Fabien Galthie’s men suffered the disappointment of going out of the World Cup at the quarter-final stage and then followed that up with a heavy loss to Ireland in the Six Nations.

Closing in on the Boks

The Irishmen’s impressive triumph in Marseille helped them close the gap on the Boks at the summit, with them now just 2.43 points behind the world champions.

However, Andy Farrell’s side will not be able to garner any points from their encounter against 11th placed Italy at the Aviva Stadium, while a loss would hit them hard in the rankings.

Most eyes will really be on the two Saturday matches with England (5) taking on Wales (8) and Scotland (6) hosting France (4) at Murrayfield.

Just 1.83 points separate the French in fourth from the Scots in sixth, which means there could well be plenty of movement.

A victory for the Red Rose combined with a win for Gregor Townsend’s outfit will result in Steve Borthwick’s charges moving above Les Bleus.

Scotland could also go ahead of the French if they triumph by more than 15 points – dropping the 2023 World Cup hosts even further down the pecking order – while a historic fourth position is also possible if the English fail to beat Wales.

As for the Welsh, a victory of any kind over England will take them above Argentina and into seventh ahead of the third round of the Six Nations.

Current world rankings

1(1) South Africa 94.54
2(2) Ireland 92.11
3(3) New Zealand 89.80
4(4) France 86.28
5(5) England 85.80
6(6) Scotland 84.45
7(7) Argentina 80.68
8(8) Wales 79.62
9(9) Australia 77.48
10(10) Fiji 76.38

READ MORE: World rankings: How the Six Nations impacted the top 10 as Springboks’ lead cut