The rugby world rankings below are updated after every weekend’s action.
International rugby finds itself in an interesting place in the year after the 2019 World Cup. South Africa are the World Champions and deservedly top of the pile, with New Zealand dropping to second thanks to a number of below-par performances losses over the last few years. This year sees the 100th match between these two great rivals being played at Eden Park and it promises to be a phenomenal occasion.
England is breathing down their necks in third, and the World Cup finalists will feel they have a point to prove after losing in convincing fashion in the World Cup final. Coach Eddie Jones has two years left on his contract and will be laser focused on getting England up to number one.
In general terms, there is little separating positions four to seven in the rugby world rankings and you get the feeling it would be difficult to pick a clear winner if any of those teams had to play against each other.
Japan is full value for eight, but you get the feeling they are capable of a higher ranking than that. With a number of high profile matches lined up against higher-ranked opposition in 2020, this could be another big year for Japanese rugby.
Scotland and especially Argentina will be very disappointed with their current rugby world rankings of 9 and 10 respectively. With the Jaguares looking very good in Super Rugby, you would expect a stronger national team, considering it is made up of mostly Jaguares players. Time will tell if they have learned any lessons from last year.
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Pro14: Munster v Leinster (Sat)
on January 22, 2021 at 1:43 pm
Garry Ringrose has recovered from a jaw injury and will start for a full-strength Leinster against inter-provincial rivals Munster on Saturday.
Danny Care: Harlequins scrum-half signs new contract
on January 22, 2021 at 12:49 pm
Former England international scrum-half Danny Care signs a new contract with Premiership club Harlequins.
Jaco van der Walt is latest Edinburgh player to extend stay
on January 22, 2021 at 12:16 pm
Edinburgh are “building a really strong side”, says fly-half Jaco van der Walt after signing a new contract extension.
Saracens: Covid-19 cases cause cancellation of Doncaster friendly
on January 22, 2021 at 8:42 am
Saracens are forced to forfeit their Trailfinders Challenge Cup fixture against Doncaster after two positive Covid-19 results.
Scotland’s Fraser Brown hopes Six Nations blow does not end British & Irish Lions hopes
on January 22, 2021 at 8:02 am
Scotland hooker Fraser Brown hopes being ruled out of the Six Nations does not end his hopes of selection for the British and Irish Lions.