RWC 2023: World Rugby Rankings Predictions for Round Four

New Zealand stand on the brink of very unlikely history.

While the All Blacks are probably secure in their current fourth, a loss to Italy by more than 15 points would spell catastrophe.

Such an outcome would not only eliminate them from the Rugby World Cup 2023 quarter-finals, but could drop them down to eight spot. Having never been ranked lower than fifth, it is only the gulf between Scotland and Romania that prevents the potential landslide happening with a lower margin defeat.

Scotland face Romania and they cannot significantly improve their rating, given the vast 14-place and 18.87-point difference separating them from their opponents.

Here are the other permutations for the World Rugby Rankings ahead of round four of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Current World Rugby Rankings

3South Africa89.70
4New Zealand87.69

How the rankings work

Rankings are calculated using a points exchange system. Sides take points off each other based on the match result. Whatever one side gains, the other loses. The relative strength of each team and the margin of victory (15 points or less / more than 15 points), and an allowance for home advantage are also taken into account. During the Rugby World Cup, exchanges are doubled to emphasises the importance of the event. All other full international matches are treated the same. Any match that is not a full international between two World Rugby full member unions does not count towards the rankings, e.g. the British and Irish Lions Test against Japan.

Rankings predictions at a glance

TeamPotential OutcomeRanking Implication
New ZealandLoss by more than 15 points to ItalyDrop to as low as 8th
All Blacks (New Zealand)Historic rankNever ranked lower than 5th
ItalyVictory against New ZealandRise to 7th
ItalyDraw against New ZealandRise to 10th
AustraliaPost Italy-New Zealand drawDrop out of the top 10
  • New Zealand cannot fall from fourth place unless they lose to Italy by more than 15 points, which would drop them as low as eighth.
  • Scotland’s ranking won’t improve significantly by beating Romania due to the rating difference.
  • A victory for Italy against New Zealand would secure their first men’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final appearance and potentially lift them to seventh. A draw would move Italy to 10th.
  • Australia could drop outside the top 10 depending on their match results and those of other teams.
  • Samoa could move above Italy in the rankings with a win against Japan, but they can’t climb higher unless other teams face unexpected defeats.
  • Japan could gain a higher ranking with a big win over Samoa.
  • Portugal could reach 15th place with a second draw and a South Africa win over Tonga.
  • Georgia could reach 11th place with a win over Fiji, depending on other results.
  • Fiji can’t improve beyond eighth place unless Scotland loses to Romania.
  • Argentina won’t significantly improve their rating by beating Chile but can gain a place if Fiji loses to Georgia.
  • Namibia could drop to 23rd place with a loss by more than 15 points to Uruguay.
  • Uruguay can’t improve beyond 17th place, even with a big win over Namibia.

Rugby World Cup 2023: Rankings scenarios by fixture

Uruguay vs Namibia

Uruguay’s current ranking: 17th (66.63 points)
Namibia’s current ranking: 21st (61.61 points)

ResultUruguay’s New RankingUruguay’s New PointsNamibia’s New RankingNamibia’s New Points
Uruguay win by 15 points or less17th67.3921st60.56
Uruguay win by more than 15 points17th67.9122nd60.03
Namibia win by 15 points or less21st63.3919th64.56
Namibia win by more than 15 points21st61.9118th66.03

Additional tables to follow…

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