World Cup rankings at stake in Six Nations finale

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 09:28
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Six Nations champions England may be bidding for a Grand Slam when they face Ireland this weekend, but they won't be the only team with something to play for on Saturday's final day of the Championship.

The climax to the 2017 Six Nations also marks the last round of international matches before the 2019 World Cup pool draw takes place in the Japanese city of Kyoto on May 10.

Leading teams will be split into three bands of four based on their position in the world rankings for a seeded draw.

The aim is to prevent too many of the world's leading nations ending up in the same pool ahead of the quarterfinals and ensure an even spread of competition in the group phase.

Only the top two sides from each of the four pools will go through to the last eight at Japan 2019, so the better your world ranking or seeding, the more chance you have of qualifying for the knockout stages.

Not that it always works like that in practice. 

Wales had dropped down to the third tier for the 2015 World Cup and found themselves in a pool with England and Australia.

But it was hosts England who missed out on the quarterfinals following successive defeats to Australia and Wales at Twickenham.

By contrast victory in Dublin on Saturday would see England set a new record of 19 consecutive Tests wins by a leading Rugby Union nations, beating the mark of world champions New Zealand.

Defeat for the Irish would see them drop out of the top band if Wales beat France in Paris.

France could find themselves in the same World Cup pool as New Zealand and South Africa for example, if they lose by more than 15 points to Wales in Paris and drop out of the top eight.

In that case, Argentina would move into the top eight and the Pumas would also climb the rankings if Scotland lost by more than 15 points to Italy.

Current World Cup draw bands:

Band One: New Zealand, England, Australia, Ireland
Band Two: Scotland, Wales, South Africa, France
Band Three: Argentina, Japan, Georgia, Italy

Note: These are the 12 teams that qualified based on their top-three finish in pool play during the 2015 World Cup. The other eight teams for the 2019 World Cup will emerge from a global qualifying process.

Leading World Rugby Rankings:

Agence France-Presse

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Fri, 24 March 2017
Crusaders v Force 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Waratahs 08h45 Melbourne
Glasgow Warriors v Connacht 17h15 Scotstoun Stadium
Scarlets v Edinburgh 19h05 Parc y Scarlets
Treviso v Ospreys 19h35 Stadio Monigo
Dragons v Ulster 19h35 Rodney Parade
Sat, 25 March 2017
Blues v Bulls 06h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Highlanders 08h45 Canberra
Sunwolves v Stormers 10h55 Singapore
Kings v Lions 13h05 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Zebre v Munster 14h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons 15h00 Twickenham Stoop
Saracens v Bath 15h00 Allianz Park
Leinster v Cardiff Blues 15h00 RDS Arena
Northampton Saints v Leicester Tigers 15h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 15h00 Sandy Park
Cheetahs v Sharks 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Ospreys 19h35 Stadio Monigo
Jaguares v Reds 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 26 March 2017
Wasps v Worcester Warriors 14h30 Ricoh Arena
Bristol v Gloucester 15h00 Ashton Gate
Mon, 27 March 2017
NWU-Pukke v UP-Tuks 14h45 Potchefstroom
Fort Hare v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Davidson Stadium
Wits v UCT-Ikeys 16h30 Johannesburg
NMMU-Madibaz v CUT-Ixias 16h30 Bloemfontein
UWC v WSU 16h30 Cape Town
Maties v UJ 17h00 Stellenbosch
WORLD CUP
MORE LOGS
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 17
Wales 4 3 0 1 13
England 4 2 0 2 11
Fiji 4 1 0 3 5
Uruguay 4 0 0 4 0
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
South Africa 4 3 0 1 16
Scotland 4 3 0 1 14
Japan 4 3 0 1 12
Samoa 4 1 0 3 6
United States 4 0 0 4 0
Pool C
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 19
Argentina 4 3 0 1 15
Georgia 4 2 0 2 8
Tonga 4 1 0 3 6
Namibia 4 0 0 4 1
Pool D
Team P W D L Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 18
France 4 3 0 1 14
Italy 4 2 0 2 10
Romania 4 1 0 3 4
Canada 4 0 0 4 2