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The World Rugby rankings determine which international side is considered the world’s best.
The Wallabies rose to third on the table following twin upset victories over reigning World Cup winners the Springboks in the 2021 Rugby Championship, but three losses in a row to Scotland, England and Wales on the 2021 Spring Tour saw them slide back to sixth. They temporarily rose to fifth after a win over England in the first Test but slipped to seventh after losing the series to England and an away Test to Argentina as part of the Rugby Championship.
After a whirlwind Rugby Championship, the Aussies found themselves down to ninth on the table following consecutive losses to the All Blacks – their lowest-ever spot in the official rankings.
However, their win over Scotland to start the Spring Tour was enough to leapfrog them back up to sixth in a single bound – straight-swapping with the Scots, who found themselves in ninth before a win over Fiji propelled them a spot up. They are now back down to eighth after Wales defeated Argentina and their own disastrous loss to Italy and narrow one to Ireland.
Meanwhile, the All Blacks have hit a historic low of fifth a pair of times in 2022, but their face-saving win over the Pumas and a pair of wins over Japan and Wales plus a draw with England has seen them climb back to third, surpassing the Boks, while also claiming another Rugby Championship title.
To see the complete rankings for all 105 international rugby sides, head over to World Rugby’s website.
The World Rugby Rankings operate using a points exchange system, where two teams will exchange points following a game against each other. That is, the losing team’s points total will be reduced by the same amount that the winning side’s is increased by.
Each side has a points rating almost always ranging from 0-100, with the no.1 side in the world often ranked between 90-100.
A range of factors impact the number of points exchanged following each match, including each side’s ranking going into the match, the location of the game – to take into account home ground advantage – and the margin of the result.
Home ground advantage to is taken into account by ‘handicapping’ the home side – their ranking is given three additional points for the purpose of comparing the relative strength of the two sides.
If the margin of victory exceeds 15 points, then the points exchanged between the side is multiplied by 1.5.
All international matches are given the same weighting as each other for ranking purposes – so a Bledisloe Cup game is given no more weighting than a match between Georgia and Italy, for example – so as to not disadvantage those sides who don’t have access to rugby’s biggest tournaments.
The one exception to this is Rugby World Cup games, for which the points exchange is doubled.