World Rankings: Boks get another shot at top three spot
PREVIEW: There are some intriguing matches in the latest round of the World Cup warm-ups and World Rugby has published the ranking permutations.
The two matches that will attract most of the spotlight will be Wales against South Africa in Cardiff and Ireland against England in Dublin.
Defeat for Ireland against England at Lansdowne Road will see them surrender the No.1 spot to New Zealand.
Ireland cannot increase their cushion at the top as they are unable to improve their rating with victory over England due to the 10.29-point difference between the teams before home advantage is factored in.
It is possible for Andy Farrell’s side to drop as many as three places to fourth if they lose by more than 15 points and South Africa win by the same margin against Wales and France beat Fiji.
South Africa will replace France in third if they beat Wales in Cardiff this weekend, regardless of Les Bleus’ result against Fiji.
This is because France cannot improve their rating with victory over Fiji due to the 10.52 points difference between the sides before home weighting is factored in.
England must beat Ireland by more than 15 points to move up to fifth and swap places with Scotland.
Wales can jump as many as three places to seventh if they beat South Africa by more than 15 points and Fiji fail to beat World Cup 2023 hosts France.
Fiji have never been ranked higher than eighth, but sixth place is possible this weekend if they beat France by more than 15 points and Ireland match the margin in a victory over England.
A smaller margin of victory will see Fiji equal their previous best provided Wales do not beat South Africa.
Fourth place is the lowest that France can fall to in defeat.
With a fraction over 10 points between themselves and USA, Georgia cannot improve their rating this weekend in victory.
However, a shock defeat against the Eagles could lead to a fall of as many as three places, to 14th if Italy are victorious at home to Romania.
USA will move above Uruguay in victory and also Portugal if they win by more than 15 points. A gain of two places would take them up to 16th.
Italy cannot improve on 13th place in their own right but a win combined with a defeat for Georgia would see them climb to 12th.
Romania head to the Adriatic Coast knowing that a win over Italy has the potential to move them up the rankings but only if it is combined with a defeat for USA away to Georgia.
Colombia will move above Ukraine and into 36th place if they beat Paraguay in the opening round of the Sudamerica Rugby 4 Naciones.
Paraguay could fall by as many as seven places in defeat.
A win for Paraguay will be accompanied by a three-place rise whatever the margin, while Colombia will fall three or four places depending on the margin.