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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Six Nations 2021: Owen Farrell ‘still learning’ about captaincy, says Eddie Jones
on March 7, 2021 at 6:05 pm
England skipper Owen Farrell is “still learning to be a good captain” but will improve, says head coach Eddie Jones.
Harlequins move up to third after thrilling win over Northampton
by Michael Aylwin on March 7, 2021 at 5:51 pm
Harlequins 37-19 Northampton Herron secures bonus point in match of seven triesIn the end, both teams will have felt slightly disappointed, neither quite able to take control of this remarkable match, featuring seven tries, plenty of them spectacular. But we are quibbling. Harlequins ended up with a bonus point, Brett Herron claiming it with a breakaway try at the death. Having endured the unhappy departure of their director of rugby, Paul Gustard, a few weeks ago, they now find themselves in third, two points behind the champions, Exeter.Northampton have endured their own torment this season but they remain in fifth. They will wonder how they failed to make their pressure tell in the second half – a dearth of fly-halves is not helping – but they contributed handsomely to a match that thrilled, as so many of them are doing these days. Their lack of control detracted from the last half-hour, but the match was never less than breathless – and for 50 minutes it really touched the heights. Related: Exeter thump Bath as England flanker Sam Underhill returns from injury Continue reading…
Premiership: Harlequins 30-19 Northampton Saints – Quins go third after explosive first-half display
on March 7, 2021 at 5:50 pm
Harlequins hold off a Northampton fightback to move up to third place in the Premiership with a fifth win in six games.
Six Nations: England’s Eddie Jones approached by ‘three or four players’ about their indiscipline
on March 7, 2021 at 3:15 pm
Following the 40-24 mauling by Wales, the squad left camp for a scheduled break week but the shortcoming of England’s Championship-high penalty count compelled some to ring Jones.
OLIVER HOLT: England star Owen Farrell is awful with the media and too scared to think for himself
on March 7, 2021 at 1:27 pm
OLIVER HOLT – CHIEF SPORTS WRITER: The BBC’s Sonja McLaughlan is a fine journalist with a talent for asking good post-match questions and not being intimidated by sullen answers.