England dropped out of the top three in the World Rugby rankings this week for the first time in two years.
And it could get a hell of a lot worse for Eddie Jones’ side if they lose again this weekend. Elsewhere it could be a historic weekend for Georgia, while others including Wales and South Africa have a chance to make a big leap.
RugbyPass looks at all the permutations and combinations from this weekend’s matches.
SOUTH AFRICA (7) v ENGLAND (4)
A heavy defeat in Bloemfontein could England plummet to sixth – yikes! On the plus side a win coupled with an Ireland victory over Australia in Melbourne would restore England to third.
Victory for South Africa will see Rassie Erasmus’ team pass England and Scotland, while a high-margin win could see them jump ahead of Wales and Australia too into third.
AUSTRALIA (3) v IRELAND (2)
A 12-match unbeaten run for Ireland was abruptly halted by the Wallabies in Brisbane last weekend. If Michael Cheika’s team can follow up that 18-9 success with another win they would wrap up the three-Test series with a game to spare, with the added bonus of moving up to second in the rankings. Alternatively a big Irish win could generate as much as one and three-quarters of a point, which would cement their second place spot, but they’d still a million miles away from the runaway All Blacks in first.
ARGENTINA (10) v WALES (5)
Wales’ first win in Argentina for 14 years, after their last-gasp win over the Springboks in Washington, it’s been successful summer for Warren Gatland’s men. In fact they could even move up to third in the rankings, but would need a beefy 15 point win over Los Pumas and looking for a helping hand elsewhere, with wins for South Africa and Ireland also.
USA (15) v SCOTLAND (6)
A comfortable win for Scotland is expected with their band of brothers, but it’s not going to lift Gregor Townsend’s men as they won’t gt any ratings points because of a gap of more than 14 rating points between the sides. If the USA pull off the shock of 2018 they would move to 14th, while an extremely unlikely victory of more than 15 points (a few Scottish players would pick up P45’s should that occur!) would bump the USA up to 13th if Italy don’t prevail against Japan.
NEW ZEALAND (1) v FRANCE (8)
New Zealand are streaking away at the top of the rankings, the good news for the rest of the teams attempting catch-up is that the All Blacks cannot extend their lead at the top with a win over Jacques Brunel’s side, because there is nearly 15 points and seven places between the sides. Les Blues can elevate themselves to sixth, all they have to do is win by more than 15 points – easy! Well maybe not, considering the 52-11 thumping Steve Hansen’s men doled out in Auckland last weekend.
FIJI (9) v GEORGIA (12)
Georgia can move into the top 10 for the first time in their history if they win against Fiji, in fact they can even go up to ninth if Argentina ship a heavy defeat to Wales. Fiji’s 24-22 win over Samoa last weekend bumped them up to 9th, they can’t go any higher with the gap to 8th-placed France too large.
TONGA (13) v SAMOA (16)
Tonga will stay 13th if they avoid defeat. A comfortable win for Samoa along with an Italy defeat could see them move up to 13th, however they’re not on form and Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua has made nine changes from the side which narrowly lost to Fiji last week.
JAPAN (11) v ITALY (14)
Japan beat Italy 34-17 last week and Conor’s O’Shea’s team would haul themselves back up to 12th with a comfortable win in Kobe.
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