Tour and PNC matches to affect rankings

(IRB.COM) Friday 25 June 2010
 Tour and PNC matches to affect rankings
Wales will be looking for their first victory against the All Blacks on New Zealand soil

Wales have made two changes to their starting line-up following the 42-9 defeat against New Zealand, currently ranked first in the IRB World Rankings, in Dunedin last weekend for the second Test at the Waikato Stadium on 26 June.

Dan Biggar replaces Stephen Jones at fly half and Jonathan Davies replaces the injured Andrew Bishop at outside centre, and as New Zealand are 13.10 rating points above Wales, any margin of victory for the visitors in the teams' 28th meeting would see them climb one place to seventh above Scotland.

Wales have never won on New Zealand soil but if they were to win by more than 15 points New Zealand would lose three rating points and drop below South Africa to second in the rankings.


South Africa play Italy, who are ranked 11th, at the Boland Rugby Union Ground and will be looking to make it 10 victories from 10 meetings following the 29-13 victory in Witbank last weekend.

If Italy beat South Africa for the first time by any margin they would gain at least two rating points, although this will not affect their IRB World Ranking unless Samoa beat Fiji by more than 15 points in the final ANZ Pacific Nations Cup match at Apia Park.

After their defeat to England last weekend Australia face Ireland at the Suncorp Stadium this weekend and the last time the two teams met they drew 20-20 in Dublin last year.

Ireland have not won on Australian soil since 1979 but if they win by more than 15 points they will move above Australia into fourth.

If Australia win by more than 15 points, however, Ireland will drop one place to sixth, with England moving up to fifth, and they can claim their third place back from France depending on the result between Argentina and France.

France haven't beaten Argentina on Argentinean soil since 1998, but won the last meeting between the two sides in Marseille in 2008.

Argentina won the two previous meetings before 2008, in the pool stages and the third place play-off at the Rugby World Cup 2007, and they will move up one place should they win by any margin in the 43rd meeting between the two sides and Wales lose to New Zealand.

France will only drop below Australia into fourth should they lose by more than 15 points to Argentina and Australia win by more than 15 points against Ireland.

A new PNC champion

The ANZ Pacific Nations Cup 2010 reaches its climax this weekend and both matches can affect the IRB World Rankings.

Japan climbed one place to 12th after their victory over Samoa last weekend and they face Tonga in the first match at Apia Park on 26 June.

The two teams have met 10 times before with both sides recording five victories each although Japan have won the last three meetings and Tonga's last win against the Asian Five Nations champions was in 2006.

A fourth consecutive victory for Japan would not affect their IRB World Ranking, but a Tonga win could see then climb as high as 13th with a victory of more than 15 points.

In the final match of the ANZ PNC 2010 Samoa and Fiji meet for the 46th time, but the hosts have not beaten Fiji since 2007 when they won 8-3 in the PNC.

Fiji have won three of the four meetings between the two sides in the PNC since its inception and although another victory will not affect their IRB World Ranking, if they win their third ANZ PNC 2010 match they will be crowned champions for the first time.

Samoa can move above Japan to 12th if they beat Fiji for the 17th time and Tonga beat Japan by any margin.

The IRB World Rankings update every Monday at 12:00 UK time.