World Rugby has published the ranking permutations for the Rugby World Cup 2023 warm-up matches in Fiji and Japan.
- With just five places and a fraction over six points separating the teams in action this weekend, there is the potential for lots of movement in the rankings.
- Fiji and Japan go into their matches with Tonga and Samoa as the higher-ranked of the teams, but that situation could be reversed if they are on the receiving end of defeats.
- If Samoa and Tonga both win by more than 15 points, Samoa can climb as high as ninth while also relegating the Brave Blossoms to 12th – their lowest position since November 2016.
- Fiji will fall two places to 15th if that transpires, one place off their all-time lowest position.
- The best Tonga can do in victory is move up one place to 14th.
- A draw would be enough to lift Samoa above Georgia into 11th place with Fiji falling one place to 14th if they are held to a draw by Tonga.
- Fiji need to win by more than 15 points and hope Samoa slip up by the same margin to move up one place to 12th.
- Japan will climb above Wales into ninth place – a position they last occupied in March – if they beat Samoa by more than 15 points.
- Mathieu Raynal (France) will take charge of Japan v Samoa for the first time. It will be his first time refereeing Japan and the third for Samoa, albeit the first time since a 78-0 loss to New Zealand in June 2017.
- Paul Williams (New Zealand) is in the middle for Fiji v Tonga for the first time. He has refereed Fiji five times, most recently against New Zealand in July 2021, with three wins, while Tonga are yet to win in their two previous matches with Williams in the middle.
Credit: World Rugby