Top spot is there for the taking in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings on a weekend when multiple teams could end up at an all-time high or low.
New Zealand will end Ireland’s unbroken 13-month reign at the summit if they beat South Africa by more than 15 points at Twickenham on Friday evening.
Recent history suggests that will be a tall order as the All Blacks have failed to achieve such a margin of victory in any of the last 10 fixtures against the fellow three-time world champions.
Ireland play Samoa the following day in France but as Andy Farrell’s team will not be able to improve their rating due to the 16.63 points difference between the teams, the 1.30 points awarded to the All Blacks for an emphatic victory over one of their fiercest rivals would be enough for them to overtake the current leaders. Such a result would increase New Zealand’s rating to 92.06 points, 0.24 points more than Ireland's.
It is also possible for South Africa to move to the top of the rankings this weekend. A victory over the All Blacks by more than 15 points – something they achieved in winning 26-10 just over a year ago – will move them to number one as long as Ireland draw or are beaten.
A win of any description will see the Springboks climb above the All Blacks and make them the higher-ranked of the two teams.
France cannot pick up any points this weekend and will remain in fourth even if they suffer a shock defeat at home to an Australian team that has yet to win under Eddie Jones in his second spell in charge.
Les Bleus, however, will reclaim third place off South Africa, which they lost last week, if they win in Paris on Sunday and the Springboks have already suffered a defeat to the All Blacks in London on Friday evening.
England, in sixth, can only catch Scotland above them if they win and Scotland lose and one of the margins of victory is by more than 15 points.
Scotland, who cannot improve on fifth place, could fall by as many as two places to seventh if beaten for the first time by Georgia and England and Australia buck their recent run of poor form and enjoy big wins.
Fifth place is even possible for the Wallabies if they win at the Stade de France, a ground where they have won more than they have lost against Les Bleus.
History could be made at Twickenham
The prize for a first-ever win for Fiji over England is a new all-time high of seventh. Sixth would be theirs for the taking if such an outcome was combined with a defeat for Australia.
Wins for Fiji, Australia and Argentina would see England slip to a record low of ninth on the eve of Rugby World Cup 2023.
Meanwhile, a first-ever loss to Spain is likely to cost Argentina – England’s first opponents at the tournament – at least one place, with a fall of three places to ninth possible if the margin is more than 15 points.
Georgia need to beat Scotland by more than 15 points to break into the top 10 for the first time and condemn Wales, who the Lelos have been paired with in Pool C at RWC 2023, to their lowest-ever position of 11th.
Likewise, Samoa need to win well against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium to improve on 12th place. Not many teams have gone there in recent times and won, though.
Meanwhile, Japan will become the higher-ranked of the two teams if they come away from Treviso unbeaten, taking 13th place off Italy.
Italy cannot move up the rankings this weekend even if they beat the Brave Blossoms and results go against other teams in and around them in the rankings.
A first-ever win over Argentina would move Spain above Romania and into 19th with a climb of two more places on the cards if the margin is big enough.
Away from the RWC 2023 warm-up matches, Paraguay and Brazil contest the Sudamerica Rugby 4 Naciones title in Luque.
A win against the defending champions would see Paraguay continue their climb up the rankings with a maximum of two places on offer.
Any form of defeat for Brazil would see them drop two places to 30th.
With only 0.41 points on offer for a win, Brazil cannot improve on their present position of 28th.