Ireland up to fourth in the world rankings despite All Black defeat and the move is highly significant
If the draw for the 2019 Rugby World Cup was made today, Ireland would be among the top sides after leapfrogging South Africa in the standings.
Ireland slipped 0.21 of a ranking point after their 21-9 defeat to New Zealand in Saturday's bruising encounter but move into the Top Four by virtue of South Africa's dramatic slide following their first ever defeat to Italy in Florence.
Australia are well ahead of Ireland in terms of ranking points in third but that gap would be narrowed considerably if Ireland get the better of the Wallabies this weekend.
The seedings for the 2019 World Cup draw, which takes place next May, will be determined by world rankings.
Another team to receive a timely boost is Scotland, who have jumped two place to seventh after their 19-16 win over Argentina last weekend.
They are now one place ahead of France and two ahead of the Pumas in the standings.
Argentina's last game before the draw in six month's time comes against England this weekend, meaning that if they are still in ninth position after the clash in Twickenham, they will be relying on France, Scotland or Wales to have a poor Six Nations if they are to be among the second seeds in the draw.
THIS WEEKEND'S FIXTURES:
- Italy v Tonga (14.00)
- England v Argentina (14.30)
- Scotland v Georgia (14.30)
- Romania v Uruguay (16.00)
- Ireland v Australia (17.30)
- Wales v South Africa (17.30)
- France v New Zealand (20.00)
- Fiji v Japan (14.00)