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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- Munster: Covid-hit Irish province add 22 young players to Champions Cup squadon December 8, 2021 at 9:07 am
Covid-hit Munster add 22 young players to their European Champions Cup squad in the build-up to Sunday’s opener against Wasps.
- Alix and Mel Popham: ‘We turned a tragic situation in our life into something positive’ | Andy Bullby Andy Bull on December 8, 2021 at 8:00 am
Having set up Head For Change the former Wales flanker, who is living with early onset dementia, is helping others using group exerciseIt has been about 18 months since Alix Popham got his diagnosis, and a year since he spoke about it in public. He’s doing well. Popham, who played 33 Tests for Wales, takes life the same way he played rugby: head on. In that time he has helped to launch a lobby group, Progressive Rugby, who have pulled together experts from across the sport to find ways to make it safer, and he has also set up a foundation, Head For Change, to provide support to athletes, and families of athletes, who are, like him and his, living with early onset dementia, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or other degenerative brain diseases caused by sport.It helps to keep busy. He has started competing in triathlons, and plans to do an Iron Man next year, even though the shoulder injuries he sustained in his career mean he can only swim breaststroke “so I’m at the back with all the older people”. And it helps to stay positive. When our talk becomes maudlin he and his wife, Mel, catch themselves and turn the conversation on to something more optimistic. “Both of us are glass half-full people.” Hope copes. They have faith that there are things they can do to mitigate the worst effects, and faith, too, that they can force the sport to do more to help other players suffering from them. Continue reading…
- Mark Atkinson: Gloucester centre signs new “multi-year” contracton December 7, 2021 at 7:41 pm
Gloucester centre Mark Atkinson signs a new “multi-year” deal with the Premiership side.
- Bath: Tom Prydie and Jordan Venter join injury-hit Premiership clubon December 7, 2021 at 6:40 pm
Struggling Bath sign former Scarlets wing Tom Prydie on a short-term deal and Edinburgh centre Jordan Venter on a contract until the end of next season.
- Simon Middleton is first women’s coach to win World Rugby Coach of the Yearon December 7, 2021 at 4:51 pm
England’s Simon Middleton becomes the first women’s team coach to win World Rugby Coach of the Year.