England aiming for Bordeaux bonus in World Rugby Women’s Rankings

Ahead of the final round of the Guinness Women’s Six Nations, we take a look at how this weekend’s matches could affect the World Rugby Women’s Rankings.

Eight of the top 10 teams in the World Rugby Women’s Rankings are in action this weekend as the Guinness Women’s Six Nations 2024 draws to a conclusion and the World Rugby Pacific Four Series 2024 starts in Los Angeles.

For two of them, France and England, silverware is on the line.

The eyes of the rugby world will be on Stade Chaban-Delmas in Bordeaux on Saturday as the two rivals put their unbeaten records on the line and compete for the Women’s Six Nations trophy in front of a record crowd for a women’s international in France.

More than 22,000 tickets had been sold as of Monday as the top two teams in the competition go head-to-head. And if Saturday’s match is every bit as exciting as last year’s epic title decider – a 38-33 win for England at Twickenham – those at the ground and watching on TV will be in for a treat.

In addition to the main prize, World Rugby Women’s Rankings points are also on the line. For five-time defending champions England, this is the first time they will be able to boost their rating, with a 29th straight victory in the Women’s Six Nations seeing them increase their advantage over New Zealand at the top.

A win by more than 15 points would put England 6.34 points clear of New Zealand, while the gap would be 6.10 points if the margin of victory is smaller.

In contrast, a heavy defeat by France would see England’s advantage cut to just 3.34 points.

Even in such a scenario, France cannot move any higher than their present position of third with a win by more than 15 points leaving them 0.29 points behind New Zealand.

France are safe in third even with a heavy defeat because with a maximum points deduction of 0.73 possible, they will remain above Canada, who cannot pick up any points this weekend when they play neighbours USA in the World Rugby Pacific Four Series 2024 opener in Los Angeles as they go into the game 13.70 points and five places better off in the rankings.

They cannot fall from fourth even with a heavy defeat while USA could climb one place to eighth above a beaten Wales if they secure their first win over their North American rivals in nine matches.

Three-way battle for third

Wales feature in the first match of the weekend, at home to Italy in Cardiff on Saturday.

Ioan Cunningham’s team have lost all four games to date and a fifth would consign them to their first-ever Women’s Six Nations whitewash, while potentially seeing them drop to 10th in the rankings.

The away team is unbeaten in the last seven meetings between these two, with six wins and a draw, but Wales will climb a place to seventh if they can buck the trend.

Italy could also fall as low as 10th – equalling their lowest ever position and one they last occupied in August 2017 – if they lose by more than 15 points in Cardiff, Ireland beat Scotland by the same margin and USA upset Canada.

The Wales-Italy game and the one that follows between Ireland and Scotland in Belfast are crucial in determining third place in the Women’s Six Nations standings and qualification for both WXV 1 and Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025.

While Scotland currently occupy that coveted third place, Italy and Ireland could still deny them on the final day. Ireland can climb by a maximum of two places to eighth in victory. They would need to beat Scotland by more than 15 points and hope Italy overcome Wales and USA fail to beat Canada for this to happen.

Ireland cannot drop out of the world’s top 10 in defeat this weekend as they have too big a cushion over Japan below.

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Last updated: Apr 25, 2024, 4:32:00 PM
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