England aiming for third

All the IRB world ranking permutations for this weekend's matches.

– While no other nation poses a threat to the top-ranked All Blacks and second-in-command Springboks, a series levelling England win over the Kiwi's could see them move into third on the world rankings ahead of the Wallabies, irrespective of Australia's result against France in Melbourne.

– Should Wales pull off an historic win against the Springboks and their first on South African soil in nine attempts, and Argentina manage to hold off Ireland in Tucumán, the Welsh Dragons will replace rivals and Six Nations champions Ireland in the top five. If that were to happen, it would mean RWC Pool A opponents Australia, England, and Wales will be positioned as the third, fourth and fifth best teams in the world.

France could climb from seventh to fifth if they beat Australia and both Ireland and Wales lose their matches against the Pumas and the Springboks.

Scotland will hope to register a win over Canada to hold onto eighth position, or they will surrender that spot to either Argentina, Samoa or Fiji, should any one of them be victorious over the weekend.

– There is just over one ranking point separating 10th and 13th. Occupying those places are Samoa, Fiji, Japan and Tonga, where the latter two could move ahead of the former in the standings if Italy beat Samoa and Fiji succumb to their Pacific Island neighbours Tonga.

Japan, who will face the United States, are on an eight-match winning streak and have had the upper hand over their opponents in their last four meetings. A rise in the rankings would put the Brave Blossoms in the top ten for the first time in their history.

IRB rankings (Top 10)

1. New Zealand 93.81
2. South Africa 89.34
3. Australia 86.91
4. England 85.68
5. Ireland 82.86
6. Wales 80.70
7. France 80.04
8. Scotland 75.92
9. Argentina 75.71
10. Samoa 75.27
Full rankings

Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images

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