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Ireland's win over NZ shakes up world rankings as Wales face shock drop

By Kim Ekin

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Ireland’s dramatic victory over New Zealand in Dublin will see a major shift in World Rugby’s rankings when the table is updated this week.

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Andy Farrell’s men defeated New Zealand 29 – 20, their third victory over the All Blacks in five attempts.

With the All Blacks and the Springboks pretty much neck to neck on the table, the No.1 spot once again changes hands, the third time in the last six weeks.

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South Africa will return to number one after they beat Scotland in Edinburgh, combined with New Zealand’s loss to Ireland across the Irish Sea. The All Blacks could not drop out of their current position of two regardless of the scoreline in the Irish capital.

Ireland meanwhile have leap frogged from fifth place into third, jumping over both England and Australia. Australia fall to fifth, while England remain in fourth.

Les Bleus cannot improve their rating with victory over Georgia due to the 10.52 rating points between the sides before home weighting is factored in. Georgia – who welcome back number eight Beka Gorgadze for his first test since suffering a knee injury against Ireland last November – can not improve on their 12th position.

Wales however face a ranking nightmare if they lose to Fiji.

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Fiji will be the higher-ranked of the two nations if they beat Wales in Cardiff, climbing two places to ninth. A defeat for Wales combined with Japan’s win over Portugal would result in them dropping out of the top 10 for the first time since the rankings began in October 2003 – to their lowest ever position of 11th.

Flanker Ellis Jenkins will skipper a Wales side where in the backline only Dan Biggar wears the same number on his back as last weekend against South Africa.

Meanwhile Fiji have named two uncapped players on the bench in Zuriel Togiatama and Apisai Naqalevu, having had five debutants last week in Spain.

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