England win in NZ would mean rankings boost
Rugby World Cup 2015 hosts England will move up to third in the IRB World Rankings if they pull off a shock victory over New Zealand at Eden Park on Saturday.
Stuart Lancaster’s side, depleted by injuries and shorn of players from Aviva Premiership finalists Northampton Saints and Saracens, would jump two full points from 85.68 to 87.68 if they defy the odds and beat the All Blacks in their own backyard for the first time in 11 years.
Regardless of results from the opening weekend of June Internationals, New Zealand cannot be shifted from top spot, while South Africa, who play Wales a week on Saturday, are safe in second.
- IRB MATCH PREVIEW - NZ - ENG (PDF) >>
An England victory would relegate Australia from third to fourth even if the Wallabies manage to beat France. Should Les Bleus prevail they could potentially jump from seventh to fifth at the expense of Ireland and Wales.
- IRB MATCH PREVIEW - AUS - FRA (PDF) >>
To hold on to fifth place, Ireland need to beat the Pumas in Argentina – something they have failed to do since 1952. Argentina’s place in the Top 10 will start to look perilous if an Ireland win is combined with victories for Samoa and Scotland, in Vern Cotter’s first match in charge.
Samoa would return to eighth in the rankings if they beat Tonga in their first match back in the Pacific Nations Cup after a one-year absence, while a win by 15 points or more against the USA in Houston would put 10th-placed Scotland just 0.05 points behind the Pumas on 75.66.
If the sides immediately above them in the rankings table lose, Tonga could rise by as many as four places from 13th to ninth.
The opening matchday of PNC 2014 concludes with a clash between Canada and Japan, who are currently separated in the rankings by three places and 3.15 points.
Fifteenth placed Canada would trade places with Italy - the side immediately above them in the rankings – if they beat in-form Japan and Italy lose to Fiji. An eighth straight win for Japan in tandem with defeat for Scotland and Fiji would put Japan on 74.58 points and in the Top 10 for the first time since rankings began.
Such a scenario would result in Scotland falling to 12th – their joint worst position – and Fiji plummeting to 14th.