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Ranking implications as only one team can dethrone France

By Kim Ekin
Josh van der Flier celebrates scoring a try /PA

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If Ireland beat New Zealand this weekend in Wellington they will dethrone France and return to the No.1 spot for the first time in nearly three years.

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Andy Farrell’s men are the only team able to replace France at the top of World Rugby’s rankings.

The men in green spent two weeks atop the rankings in September 2019, having become the fifth team to occupy the top spot on 9 September off the back of a 19-10 victory over Wales prior to the World Cup.

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Stephen Ferris, have New Zealand rugby lost their aura? | RugbyPass Offload | EP 42
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They are among a shortlist of just five teams to hold the top spot, a list that includes England, New Zealand, South Africa and Wales.

Any margin of victory would also see Ireland break the 90-rating point mark for the first time since the rankings began in October 2003.

If they fail to defeat Ian Foster’s All Blacks, then France’s first foray to the top of the rankings will last longer than a week. Les Bleus don’t play this weekend, having returned to France following a two Test series win over Japan.

On the flip side of the equation, victory for the All Blacks will see them switch places with Ireland in second and ensure their stay at fourth – their lowest ever ranking – is short-lived.

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But it could also get even worse. Foster’s charges could drop to a new low of fifth if they lose by more than 15 points, depending on the results in South Africa and Australia.

NZ will climb above South Africa into third in the highly unlikely event that both sides draw.

Meanwhile, the Springboks cannot improve their rating with victory over Wales due to the 7.33 rating points between the sides, before home weighting is factored in. In fact the Boks could drop another two places to fifth if they lose by more than 15 points against Wales, depending on results in Australia and New Zealand.

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Eddie Jones England could end the weekend in third place if they win by more than 15 points, providing that New Zealand lose by 15 points or more and South Africa lose. That said, they could fall to seventh if they lose by more than 15 points and Scotland beat Argentina.

The Wallabies must win by more than 15 points to climb back above England into fifth. Dave Rennie’s men could fall two places to a new low of eighth if they lose and Wales and Scotland both win on the road.

Gregor Townsend’s Scotland, fresh from a second Test win in Salta, could jump as high as fifth – equalling their highest ever position – if they win by more than 15 points and Australia win by a margin less than that.

Elsewhere, Vern Cotter’s Fiji will fall two places if they lose by more than 15 points to Samoa and Georgia beat Portugal.

After last weekend’s historic win over Italy, Georgia cannot improve their rating with victory over Portugal due to the 9.43 rating points between the sides before home weighting is factored in.

Chile will jump two or three places to their highest-ever ranking in victory with a victory over the US in Denver.

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