South Africa can jump Ireland in World Rugby rankings over weekend
The weekend’s slate of games sees tier-one nations from the southern and northern hemispheres clash for the first time since last year’s End of Year tours, amongst other mouth-watering fixtures.
That top spot on the rankings is not guaranteed for Andy Farrell’s men though with no points on offer for a win but the potential to drop as low as fourth with a loss.
13 months atop the World Rugby rankings reflects the unbeaten run for Ireland but a loss would guarantee the team surrender their world-best rating to New Zealand while results elsewhere will determine whether France and/or South Africa also overtake the Irish.
Despite the potential jump in the standings, don’t expect many South African or New Zealand fans to be cheering the England side on in Dublin. The odds will also be against Steve Borthwick’s men as Ireland enjoy a 15-match winning record at their home fortress and have lost just two of their past 38 matches there.
England can only hope to get as high as fifth with a win.
France are in a similar position to Ireland in the sense they have no points reward on offer for a win but if the Springboks are to prevail in Cardiff, Siya Kolisi’s side will assume the position of third place, relegating the French to fourth.
Wales face no consequence as far as the rankings are concerned for a loss to South Africa but can improve from tenth to eighth with a win or ninth if Fiji also claims victory.
The biggest winners from the coming weekend may just be the Flying Fijians.
A winning start to the year and to new head coach Simon Raiwalui’s tenure has Fiji sitting ninth on the rankings, with the potential to jump Australia to be the highest-ranked team in Pool C come World Cup time.
To achieve this, the Semi Radradra-led team would have to topple France, no mean feat but one the Fijians did accomplish the last time the two nations met in 2018.
Les Bleus currently enjoy a record home-winning streak but the World Cup hosts have lost the services of the influential Romain Ntamack due to a knee injury in their latest win against Scotland.
A Romanian win over Italy would only benefit the team’s rankings if the USA loses.
Join free and tell us what you really think!Sign up for free