World Rugby Men's Rankings preview: 24-25 February, 2024

World Rugby Men's Rankings preview: 24-25 February, 2024

World Rugby has published the ranking permutations for the third round of the Guinness Men's Six Nations this weekend.

Permutation highlights:

  • Ireland and France – the two highest ranked teams in the Guinness Men’s Six Nations – cannot improve their ratings with wins at home against the lower ranked Wales and Italy respectively.
  • However, Ireland, sitting six places and 12.57 ratings points above Wales before home weighting is factored in, will surrender second place if beaten by more than 15 points in Dublin.
  • France could drop as many as two places to sixth if they lose to 11th-ranked Italy by more than 15 points and Scotland retain the Calcutta Cup with a win by the same margin.
  • This would see Scotland climb to an historic high of fourth.
  • A smaller victory margin for Scotland and a heavily beaten France would still drop out of the top four – for the first time since February 2022 – with England replacing them.
  • This scenario would be the same if England win at Murrayfield and France fail to beat the Azzurri in Lille.
  • If France are victorious then Scotland must win by more than 15 points to swap places with England and equal their highest ever ranking of fifth.
  • Defeat will only cost Scotland sixth place if Wales also beat Ireland in the earlier of Saturday’s two matches by more than 15 points – a margin of victory they have only achieved twice before in Dublin (1910 and 1976).
  • In that scenario, Wales will climb two places to sixth with Scotland falling to seventh.
  • Italy are assured of a place in the top 10 for the first time since June 2013 if they leave France with at least a draw.
  • A win for the Azzurri would lift them above Australia into ninth, leaving the Wallabies in their joint-worst position of 10th.


Match officials:

  • Andrea Piardi (Italy) will create history when he makes his Guinness Men's Six Nations debut in the middle in Dublin this weekend with Ireland v Wales the first match in the Championship to be refereed by an Italian. It will be his first test in the middle since Georgia's historic win over Wales in November 2022. 
  • Andrew Brace (Ireland) will referee the Calcutta Cup match for the third time, having overseen Scotland's victories in 2018 (25-13 at Murrayfield) and 2021 (11-6 at Twickenham).
  • Christophe Ridley (England) is this weekend's second referee to make his Six Nations debut with France v Italy in Lille. It will be the first time he takes charge of France in a test. 

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