World Rankings: Second place at risk, movement in the top 10 and more

Dylan Coetzee
Split: Duane Vermeulen, Gregor Townsend, James Slipper and Ardie Savea.

Split: Duane Vermeulen, Gregor Townsend, James Slipper and Ardie Savea.

This weekend is a busy one on the rugby union calendar, with 10 of the top 15 countries in the world taking to the field as preparations for the Rugby World Cup begin.

Planet Rugby takes a closer look at what all the games this weekend means for world rankings, starting with the Rugby Championship.

All Blacks eye second spot

A win of any kind for All Blacks in Bledisloe I will see them leapfrog Rugby World Cup hosts France and move into second place.

Beating Australia by 15 points or less would see their tally slightly increase, whilst a win by more than 15 pushes the side to a total of 90.77 which is only 1.05 off top-ranked Ireland.

In contrast, the All Blacks will lose third spot even if the Wallabies beat them by more than 15 points at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and that is paired with a Springboks victory over Argentina.

For the Wallabies, they cannot fall below their current ranking, eighth, even if they were to lose heavily to their trans-Tasman rivals but a win could see them jump as high as fifth depending on other results in the Argentina and Scotland games.

Fun fact: The last time the Wallabies won the Bledisloe Cup was in 2002, during Eddie Jones’ first stint with his home country.

Possible climb for Los Pumas

A rare win over the Springboks could power Michael Cheika’s Los Pumas to fifth in the world rankings regardless of Scotland’s result. This would equal their highest-ever ranking, last achieved in 2016.

If Argentina lose and the Wallabies win, Los Pumas will drop from seventh spot, with Jones’ side benefitting. But if both teams lose, there will not be any change.

The Springboks can only improve their rating by a maximum of two-hundredths regardless of how big a margin of victory, meaning that unless New Zealand loses there will be no chance of catching the third-placed side.

The world champions have a significant gap on fifth-placed Scotland, meaning there is no chance of dropping down the rankings.

Fun fact: Second-row Eben Etzebeth will surpass World Cup-winning captain John Smit as the fourth most-capped Springbok in history when he runs out at Ellis Park this weekend.

Italy eye return to the top 10

The Summer Nations Series sees Italy travel to Edinburgh.

A win of more than 15 points for the Azzurri and IF Samoa v Fiji is a draw OR Fiji win by less than 15 will then see Italy move into the top 10 for the first time in 10 years.

On the other hand, Scotland cannot improve on their fifth position but can fall as low as eighth if they lose and both Argentina and Australia win.

Fun fact: Scotland fly-half Ben Healy only switched allegiances this year after representing Ireland at age-grade level.

Samoa look to continue climbing

Manu Samoa broke into the top 10 last week and will be able to move into ninth, above Wales, if they beat their rivals Fiji by more than 15 points in Apia this weekend.

However, if the Flying Fijians manage to beat Samoa, they will leapfrog them in the rankings and move as high as 10th in the ladder.

Fun fact: Former All Black Steven Luatua is set to debut for Manu Samoa this weekend.

Japan hoping to end their free fall

The Brave Blossoms fell out of the top 10 last weekend and will be hoping to stop their fall down the rankings, as a loss against Tonga could see them drop to 15th in a worst-case scenario. A win of any margin will not see them climb, as they would still be short of Georgia’s tally.

Meanwhile, the recently renewed Tonga side can only climb a maximum of one place if they win by more than 15 points. Dropping below Portugal, who are 16th, is not possible.

Chile look to equal their best

South American side Chile could move into 21st, above Namibia, if they were to beat Uruguay at the weekend. This would equal their best ranking ever.

Uruguay cannot improve to 17th in the rankings regardless of the margin of victory.

Fun fact: Chile will be playing in their first World Cup later this year in France.

Current World Rugby rankings (as of 28/07/2023)

1. Ireland 91.82
2. France 90.47
3. New Zealand 90.32
4. South Africa 88.34
5. Scotland 82.77
6. England 82.12
7. Argentina 81.49
8. Australia 80.32
9. Wales 78.08
10. Samoa 77.46
11. Georgia 76.23
12. Japan 75.96
13. Fiji 75.35
14. Italy 74.63
15. Tonga 70.70
16. Portugal 67.62
17. Uruguay 66.24
18. USA 65.92
19. Romania 65.8
20. Spain 64.05

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