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World Rankings: The battle for No.1 begins

SPOTLIGHT: World Rugby has revealed the ranking permutations for the July internationals this weekend.

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Ireland will return to the top of the men’s rankings if they beat current incumbent South Africa by more than 15 points in Pretoria.

They surrendered the top spot to South Africa following their defeat to New Zealand in the World Cup 2023 quarterfinals last October.

A smaller margin of victory would see Ireland close to within 0.49 rating points of South Africa ahead of their second Test next weekend.

However, the Springboks could extend their advantage over Ireland to 4.79 points if they are victorious by more than 15 points. A win of this magnitude would take their rating above 95 points, following a gain of 0.47 points.

A smaller margin of victory would result in South Africa holding a 4.49-point advantage.

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Whatever happens at Loftus Versfeld, South Africa and Ireland are guaranteed to still occupy the top two spots come Monday’s weekly update as the teams below them have too much ground to make up.

France and England can both replace New Zealand in third place this weekend if they win and the scorelines are weighted in their favour.

The All Blacks will drop to fifth – equalling their lowest-ever ranking – if they are beaten by England by more than 15 points and France draw or win their first Test against Los Pumas.

A smaller win for England will still see them climb a place to fourth if France fail to win in Mendoza.

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The All Blacks cannot improve on third place this weekend, and the same applies to Scotland in sixth as they cannot improve their rating due to the 21.92 points difference between themselves and Canada before home weighting is factored in.

A victorious Scotland are safe in sixth unless Argentina beat France by more than 15 points, in which case Los Pumas will replace them there.

Two places is the most Wales can climb with a win over Australia, although it will depend on the margin and the outcome of Italy’s match with Samoa in Apia.

Any loss – if in tandem with Fiji avoiding defeat in Georgia – will see Australia drop out of the top 10 for the first time since the rankings were introduced in October 2003.

If Georgia win then Australia cannot fall lower than 10th even with a heavy defeat, although if the Lelos beat Fiji by more than 15 points the gap between them and Australia could be just 0.07 rating points.

Australia cannot improve on their present position of ninth in their own right, as they are dependent on Italy also losing to Samoa.

Italy can only overtake Argentina and move up to seventh if they win and Los Pumas lose, provided one of the victory margins is more than 15 points.

A win for Fiji against Georgia and a defeat for Wales would see the teams swap places, with the Pacific Islanders moving into the top 10 and Wales dropping to an all-time low of 11th.

A two-place climb to a record-equalling 11th place is possible for Georgia if they beat Fiji by more than 15 points.

Lower down the rankings, wins for Romania against USA and Chile against Hong Kong China would lead to both teams climbing the rankings.

World Rankings: The battle for No.1 begins

In this episode of Walk the Talk, Jim Hamilton chats with double World Cup winner Damian de Allende about all things Springbok rugby, including RWC2023 and the upcoming Ireland series. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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