Australia can restore the southern hemisphere top three in the IRB World Rankings if they beat South Africa in Brisbane on Saturday to record their first win of the 2013 Rugby Championship.
Victory at Suncorp Stadium will lift Australia above England back into third, but if they were to beat the Springboks by more than 15 points then they would also climb above their visitors into second.
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If South Africa continue their unbeaten start to The Rugby Championship then Australia will remain in fourth and slip closer to France below, a loss by more than 15 points seeing their advantage over Les Bleus reduced to just over two rating points.
By winning on the road, South Africa will eat into New Zealand’s cushion at the top as the All Blacks cannot improve their rating of 91.64 even with an emphatic win over Argentina in Hamilton as a result of the 15.23 rating points and nine places separating the two.
New Zealand have been the number one side in the world for the last 46 months and will only surrender that position if they lose by more than 15 points to Argentina and South Africa win by a similar margin in Brisbane.
If Argentina can send shockwaves through the world of world rugby by beating the All Blacks for their first victory in The Rugby Championship then their reward will be a one place elevation to ninth, lifting them above Scotland.
Away from The Rugby Championship, the road to RWC 2015 resumes in Europe with the first match of the 2013/14 season as Poland welcome Sweden to Warsaw for their Division 1B encounter, knowing victory is vital for both if they want to finish top and remain in the picture for England 2015.
Poland are the higher ranked in 28th, five places above their visitors, and as such a victory for the hosts will not result in a positional change. Poland would still inch closer to Germany above them with a gain of just under five tenths, with Sweden slipping into the clutches of Brazil beneath.
However, if Sweden can record an away win they will enter the top 30 for the first time since the IRB World Rankings were introduced in October 2003, climbing as high as 28th if they win by more than 15 points. Such a margin of defeat on home soil would see Poland drop to 32nd.
The IRB World Rankings update every Monday at 12:00 UK time.
- Monday 30 September 2013 - World Rankings
South Africa inch closer to rankings top spot
- Friday 27 September 2013 - World Rankings
Second within reach for Australia in rankings
- Monday 16 September 2013 - World Rankings
New Zealand increase rankings cushion at top
- Thursday 12 September 2013 - World Rankings
Ranking top spot at stake in Auckland