Pumas win key for any rankings movement
Argentina will make their long-awaited debut in The Rugby Championship on Saturday in the knowledge that a first ever win over South Africa will provide a shake-up to the top eight of the IRB World Rankings.
Los Pumas have had mixed results on their last two visits to South Africa, coming within a whisker of a first win with a 26-25 loss in Port Elizabeth in June 2003 but then being crushed 63-9 by the then world champions in August 2008.
If Argentina can enjoy a dream debut then they would climb one place to seventh – swapping places with Ireland – with the loss proving extremely costly for South Africa with a two or three place fall depending on the margin of defeat.
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South Africa have not been as low as fifth since mid 2007, while a loss by more than 15 points at Newlands on Saturday would see them equal their lowest ever position of sixth and sit a mere four hundredths above Argentina.
England and France would be the beneficiaries of a South African loss on home soil, climbing one place to third and fourth respectively and into what will be the top band of seeds for the Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool Allocation Draw on 3 December 2012.
Wales could also gain a place if South Africa suffer a heavy loss to Argentina.
On the other hand, a 14th successive win for South Africa over Los Pumas would only have a minimal effect on their rating as result of their higher ranking and being the home side.
South Africa can gain a maximum of two tenths with a convincing win and will remain third, even if Australia suffer a heavy loss on home soil against number side New Zealand earlier in the day.
Closing up at the top?
Argentina will remain eighth, just slightly closer to Scotland beneath them as they look to remain in the fifth to eighth spots which will become band two for the Pool Allocation Draw in London.
New Zealand have sat atop the IRB World Rankings for nearly 80 per cent of the time since their introduction in October 2003 and will remain the number one side regardless of the outcome against Australia.
The world champions, who have occupied top spot since 16 November 2009, can increase their cushion over second ranked Australia to as much as 6.97 points with a win by more than 15 points at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
Australia could slide to less than seven tenths above the Springboks if they lose heavily to New Zealand and South Africa overwhelm Argentina.
The Wallabies, who beat New Zealand in Brisbane to win the Tri Nations title last year, could though slash the advantage of their trans-Tasman rivals to less than a rating point with an emphatic win.
The IRB World Rankings update every Monday at 12:00 UK time.