Current leaders and reigning world champions the Springboks could lose their number one spot in World Rugby’s Test rankings to New Zealand, Ireland or France following this weekend’s matches.
With all of the world’s top 10 teams in action on Saturday, there could be some significant changes when the World Rugby Men’s Rankings are officially updated at 12 noon on Monday.
To be certain of staying at number one, South Africa need to repeat their November win over Wales in Cardiff when the teams meet at Loftus Versfeld.
Failure to do so will leave the Springboks vulnerable to results elsewhere, especially from Eden Park in Auckland, the venue for the eagerly-awaited encounter between New Zealand and Ireland, the sides ranked third and fourth.
If South Africa draw with Wales, New Zealand or Ireland must win by more than 15 points to assume the number one ranking.
Defeat for the Springboks means that a smaller margin of victory will be sufficient for New Zealand or Ireland to supplant them at the top.
Wales are guaranteed to climb a place to eighth if they upset the odds and win, regardless of the outcome of the first test between Argentina and Scotland – the two teams immediately above them in the rankings.
France can top the rankings for the first time since they were introduced in 2003 if they win, South Africa lose to Wales and it is a draw at Eden Park between New Zealand and Ireland.
Meanwhile, Australia will leapfrog England into fifth place with victory in the opening test in Perth.
World Rugby Rankings
1 SA 90.61pts
2 FRA 88.88
3 NZ 88.75
4 IRE 88.22
5 ENG 84.50
6 AUS 83.92
7 SCO 81.80
8 ARG 80.58
9 WAL 79.28
10 JAP 78.26
What is your prediction? pic.twitter.com/IiJ78Wci66
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) June 30, 2022
Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images