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Top spot still on the cards for Ireland

NEWS: World Rugby has revealed the latest ranking permutations for the internationals and shows that Ireland stays in the hunt for the top spot but can also drop to third position.

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The Irish can only return to the top spot if they beat South Africa by more than 15 points – any smaller margin would leave them trailing the Springboks by 0.99 rating points.

However, if Ireland suffers back-to-back defeats to South Africa, they will fall one place to third with a victorious New Zealand replacing them in second.

South Africa’s cushion at the top of the World rankings could grow to more than five points, depending on the margin and outcome of New Zealand’s second Test against England.

The good news for Ireland is that they can fall no lower than third as France cannot gain enough points by beating Argentina to overhaul them with a maximum of 0.70 rating points possible.

Les Bleus’ 43-28 victory over Uruguay on Wednesday did not come with any rating gain due to the 21.10 points between the teams before home weighting was factored in.

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If France loses to Los Pumas and England ends New Zealand’s 30-year unbeaten record at Eden Park with victory then Steve Borthwick’s side will swap places with Les Bleus.

Victory by more than 15 points for England will see them jump to third and will – if France and Argentina draw in Buenos Aires – condemn the All Blacks to a record-equalling low of fifth.

England will have to settle for fourth if they do win well and France come away with a victory in Buenos Aires.

With no points on offer for a win against the USA due to the 16.81 rating points difference between the sides, Scotland cannot improve on sixth place this weekend with victory in Washington DC.

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For Argentina to claim sixth place off Scotland, Los Pumas would have to beat France and hope that Scotland lose to the Men’s Eagles. If that match in Washington DC ends in a draw, then Argentina must beat France by more than 15 points to climb to sixth.

If Australia beats Wales in Melbourne, Italy must come away from Tonga with a victory of more than 15 points if they are to replace the Wallabies in eighth. This would equal their highest position in the rankings.

Having dropped out of the top 10 for the first time in history following defeat last weekend, Wales can secure a quick return if they beat Australia.

A Wales win would see the Wallabies themselves drop to an all-time low of 11th.

The good news for Wales is that they can’t drop any lower than their present position of 11th, even if they suffer a ninth consecutive loss.

Fiji, in 10th, is the only team in the top 24 nations not in action this weekend, but the fixtures have fallen in their favour and they will remain there regardless of the results of matches involving teams in and around them in the rankings, such as Australia v Wales and Japan v Georgia.

Fiji could even gain a place if Tonga continues Italy’s poor record in the Pacific Islands and beats the Azzurri by more than 15 points, a scenario which would lift the ‘Ikale Tahi a couple of places depending on other results.

Japan could be usurped in 12th place if they fail to beat the Lelos and Samoa do the business at home to Spain.

Georgia could also move up by a couple of places if they beat the Brave Blossoms and other results go their way.

Portugal can only improve on their current position of 16th if they beat Namibia and Tonga also lose to Italy by more than 15 points.

Namibia could see their rating increase by up to 2.50 rating points if they beat Portugal by more than 15 points, but any gains will depend on the results of those around them.

A repeat of the result the last time the USA hosted Scotland (a 30-29 win in Houston) would lift the Men’s Eagles up at least one place, possibly more if the margins work in their favour and others around them lose enough points.

A win for Spain away to Samoa will only be accompanied by a rankings gain if the margin is sufficient and the USA fails to beat Scotland.

Romania can gain as many as 1.55 points for a win by more than 15 points in Canada but that would only lead to a rise in their ranking if Spain were also beaten.

In addition, rating points will be on the line in the fixtures involving teams exclusively outside of the top 20 – Chile against Belgium and Paraguay against Hong Kong China.

Top spot still on the cards for Ireland

All Black second row Brodie Retallick joins Jim Hamilton for the latest episode of Walk the Talk, touching on life in Japan, RWC 2023 and the future of All Black rugby. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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