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Dublin: 7°C Saturday 16 January 2021
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A win over Wales will send Ireland to Japan as the world's number 1 team

That’d be nice, wouldn’t it?

CJ Stander and Cian Healy lifting a line-out in training.
CJ Stander and Cian Healy lifting a line-out in training.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

THE TOP SPOT in the World Rugby rankings will likely change hands again this weekend, with both Ireland and Wales capable of over-taking New Zealand.

The All Blacks currently lead the way having regained their long-held top spot last week, but up against 15th-ranked Tonga in Hamilton tomorrow, they will not be able to improve their standing before Japan 2019 kicks off on 20 September.

Ireland will take over at the summit for the start of the tournament if they can beat Warren Gatland’s side in Dublin by any margin.

Wales can return to number one if they beat Joe Schmidt’s side by more than 15 points. 

A draw, or a Welsh win by a margin less than 15 would see the All Blacks remain on the perch when the World Cup kicks off in two weeks’ time.

If Ireland were to suffer another confidence blow and lose at home to the Grand Slam champions then they would slide down from their current position in second.

England can only replace them in that spot if both Ireland and New Zealand lose at home.

Pre-RWC Tests this weekend (current ranking in brackets)

Japan (10) v South Africa (5)

Scotland (7) v Georgia (12)

England (3) v Italy (13)

New Zealand (1) v Tonga (15)

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Australia (6) v Samoa (16)

Ireland (2) v Wales (4)

Canada (21) v USA (14)

Murray Kinsella, Gavan Casey and Bernard Jackman make the case for Ireland winning… and tanking at the Rugby World Cup, as we gear up for Wales again: 


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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