Rugby Union Rankings 2010: Latest Changes

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With the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand barreling toward us at rapid speed, the competition for top rankings for the tournament is heating up. While there haven’t been too many changes over the last few months, there are some significant parties vying to make a move on the upper spots.

Six Nations Grand Slam results

France, for example, made a statement with its defeat of Italy at the Six Nations Grand Slam, but since they’re already so much higher ranked than Italy, this did not affect their rankings. However, what it does mean is that they can’t lose their spot at number four.

Similarly, Ireland is all but stuck in the fifth spot. Without having an upcoming opportunity to go against France or any of the top-three ranked teams, the Irish have nothing to do but defend their current spot, which they’re expected to do with little threat from the Welsh, English, or Argentinians who are currently sitting right behind them.

Wales actually had a good chance of moving into the fifth spot with a victory over Ireland at the Six Nations Grand Slam, but the match went as expected—in Ireland’s favor, and Argentina managed to keep their spot without having to lift a finger.

Other contenders

More recently, several teams have secured their spots in the 2011 Cup. Canada, Georgia, Japan, Namibia, Russia, Samoa, and the United States all powered their way into the Cup in regional qualifying competitions. These teams will meet the teams that qualified with their strong performances in 2007: namely, Argentina, Australia, England, Fiji, France, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, Tonga, and Wales.

This leaves one spot left to be filled, with several teams determined to make the cut. Romania becomes one of the top qualifiers with their recent home-turf victory over Ukraine. This moves them to a playoff match against Tunisia, set to take place in July. The winner between Romania and Tunisia will then go on to face either Uruguay or an Asian 5 Nation runner-up to decide who will fill the final spot, which will be in the Cup’s Pool B.

With the Cup fast approaching, the list of teams that cannot take part has grown long. Notable contenders that have been eliminated, but who will be looking to make a strong statement for 2015, include Portugal, Chile, Germany, Belgium, Brazil, Korea, and Spain. These and some 70 other teams will be on the sidelines next year, but who’s to say what 2015 will bring?

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