With another packed weekend of internationals looming, Scotland’s match against South Africa has the potential for a ranking reshuffle - but the tourists will need to create history in the process.
The Scots, after suffering their first-ever defeat by Samoa last week, have the chance to turn their fortunes around when they face the hosts in the four-nation tournament on Saturday.
Victory in Nelspruit would lift the Scots from 11th to ninth and demote the second-placed Springboks by up to two places, depending on other results.
History is against the tourists, however: although Scotland have beaten the Springboks as recently as 2010, they are yet to win a Test on South African soil.
Samoa, meanwhile, could edge closer to sixth-placed France if they continue their good form with a win over Italy.
Victory would lift the Pacific Islanders’ ratings total past the 80 mark but a win for Italy could see them rise one place to ninth.
Pumas on the prowl
Less than two ranking points separate the four sides placed nine to 12 in the world: Argentina, Italy, Scotland and Tonga.
Argentina, smarting from last week’s 32-3 defeat by England in Salta, could gain revenge this weekend in Buenos Aires and consequently gain one place in the rankings.
Another England win, however, would leave the tourists unchanged in fourth - depending on the result of South Africa v Scotland - and send Argentina out of the world's top 10.
With the rankings points taking into account respective positions in the table, Wales have everything to lose against world No.15 Japan.
Victory would leave the Welsh total unchanged but a Japanese victory would send the tourists down one place to sixth, while the Brave Blossoms would remain unchanged but with improved points.
France face New Zealand in Christchurch after losing by 10 points in the first Test in Auckland.
A French victory would not be enough to topple the All Blacks from top spot in the rankings, but would improve the French standing to fifth, edging out Wales.
Georgia’s 27-3 win over Uruguay in the IRB Tbilisi Cup earlier in the week has little effect on the standings, given the sides’ respective ranking at 16 and 21 in the world.
In the Elgon Cup, a victory by holders Uganda over Kenya would see the pair almost switching places. Uganda could leap from 41 to 37 and the latter drop to 40 in this annual fixture between the pair.
The IRB World Rankings are published every Monday at midday UK time.
- Monday 19 August 2013 - World Rankings
Australia slip as Canada rise in rankings
- Thursday 15 August 2013 - World Rankings
Second spot in rankings in Australia's sights
- Monday 15 July 2013 - World Rankings
Kenya and Cook Islands make solid gains
- Monday 8 July 2013 - World Rankings
Papua New Guinea make the early running
|30 September 2013|
|30 September 2013|
- 04 November - Stephen Larkham on the 2003 Rugby World Cup final
- 01 November - Stephen Larkham on Rugby World Cup 1999 and 'that' drop goal
- Listen to this week's Total Rugby show
- 30 October - England's Danielle Waterman on Women's Rugby World Cup 2014 Draw
- 30 October - Marie-Alice Yahe's (France) reaction to Women's Rugby World Cup 2014 Draw (in French)