Scotland with plenty to gain in rankings

(IRB.COM) Friday 7 February 2014
 
 Scotland with plenty to gain in rankings
Can Scotland win at Murrayfield or will England captain Chris Robshaw lift the Calcutta Cup again?

Scotland have not beaten England at Murrayfield since the 2008 Six Nations, but if they can taste victory over the Auld Enemy on Saturday then they could rise as many as three places in the IRB World Rankings depending on other results.

The Scots slipped one place to 10th after their opening Six Nations loss to Ireland last weekend, but will climb above Argentina and Samoa with victory over England and condemn their visitors to three successive defeats in the Championship for the first time since 2006.

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For Scotland to climb another place to seventh they would need to not only beat England by more than 15 points, but also for Wales to beat hosts Ireland by the same margin at the Aviva Stadium in the first Six Nations match of round two.

Whatever happens at Murrayfield, England cannot surrender their position as the leading northern hemisphere nation in the rankings, even with an emphatic defeat by Scotland. 

However, the weekend could end with just two tenths separating England in fourth and France in sixth. This scenario would require Wales to beat Ireland by more than 15 points, a result which would lift them above a French side victorious over Italy.

This is because a second victory for France in the 2014 Championship will have no impact on their rating of 82.05, a consequence of the eight places and almost nine rating points separating the two rivals going into their meeting at the Stade de France.

France will certainly not underestimate the threat posed by the Italians, particularly after losing to their Rugby World Cup 2015 pool opponents in Rome last year. If Italy can win on French soil this time then they could jump three places to return to the top 10 in the rankings.

Ireland are the only side to have beaten Wales in a Six Nations match since the start of the 2011 Championship and if they repeat last year’s 30-22 win at the Millennium Stadium then they will climb above their Celtic visitors into sixth in the rankings.

They could climb another place, although that would require France to also lose to Italy.

The race to RWC 2015

The European Nations Cup also continues this weekend with Georgia and Romania leading the race to secure the region’s two direct qualifying places at RWC 2015. Georgia travel to Portugal on Saturday while Romania now face Russia in Nebug after weather forced the match to be moved from Krasnodar and Spain welcome Belgium to Madrid.

If Georgia and Romania continue their unbeaten run in the competition then they will remain 16th and 17th in the rankings respectively and inch a little closer to Canada above them, while defeats will see them fall one or two places with the USA the beneficiary.

Russia currently lie third in the Division 1A standings, five points behind second placed Romania. This makes the match in Nebug effectively a must-win match for the Bears if they are to retain hope of securing the Europe 1 or 2 qualification places for RWC 2015.

If they lose and fall potentially 10 points behind the top two then their hopes of avoiding the final European play-off (against the Division 1B winner or the Netherlands) for the right to enter the Repechage will be dealt a huge blow.

Russia can only fall from their current position of 20th in the rankings if they lose and Portugal cause a big upset by beating Georgia by more than 15 points in Lisbon. If 21st ranked Portugal lose on home soil then a Spain victory over Belgium in Madrid will see them regain the place they lost to their neighbours last weekend. 

Another defeat for Belgium would see them slide one place to 28th, swapping places with Chile. On the other hand if they can beat Spain away from home then they can jump a couple of places in the rankings.

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