Graphic badge with the title 'top scorer' in bold, stylized font, featuring the default kit.
The image seems to be a low-resolution or blurred grayscale logo, likely related to football, but specific details are indiscernible.

What Is the World Rugby Ranking System?

A rugby player stands on the pitch during an evening match, observing teammates and opponents in action.

Understanding the rankings in rugby can be confusing, leaving fans unsure about how their favourite teams are judged on the global stage. The World Rugby Ranking System is a dynamic points exchange method that rates national teams based on their performance in matches.

In this blog post, we’ll break down this system to help you grasp how international rugby standings are determined and why they matter for your team. Read on to see where your nation stands!

Key Takeaways

  • The World Rugby Ranking System rates national rugby teams based on their performance in international matches, influencing seeding and qualifications for major tournaments.
  • Points are exchanged between teams after each match, with wins, losses, margins of victory, home advantage, and strength of opposition affecting the total points and thus rankings.
  • Women’s and men’s rugby both use this system to evaluate team success internationally; the member unions’ participation directly impacts global standings.
  • Rankings constantly change as results from competitions like the Rugby World Cup and regional championships contribute to shifts in team positions over time.
  • Big gains or losses in rankings can occur due to standout performances or unexpected outcomes in key matches, showcasing the competitive nature of international rugby.

Explanation of World Rugby Rankings

The World Rugby Rankings are calculated through a points exchange system based on the match results and head-to-head win/loss records of international rugby union teams. This system applies to both men’s and women’s rankings, with member unions from around the world contributing to the overall rankings.

Calculation method

Rugby teams earn or lose points in every international match, which contributes to their ranking. This ‘Points Exchange’ system is vital in understanding the shifts and movements within the World Rugby Rankings.

It’s not just about winning or losing; factors like the margin of victory, home advantage, and the relative strength of each team all play a part in how many points are exchanged.

Match results determine whether a team’s point total increases or decreases. A surprising win can lead to a significant boost while an unexpected loss could incur a notable penalty.

The competitiveness of matches ensures that rankings constantly evolve, reflecting recent performances more accurately than past glories. International rugby competitions rely on these rankings for seeding and qualifications, ultimately making every game count towards future opportunities.

Member unions

World Rugby’s member unions have a crucial role in the World Rugby Ranking System. The rankings are based on the performance of teams from member nations, making it essential for these unions to maintain competitive and successful national teams.

Teams from the member unions participate in international matches, gaining or losing points based on their game results. These unions play an integral part in the calculation process of rankings, ensuring that fair and accurate evaluations of team performance are upheld across both men’s and women’s rugby.

The World Rugby Ranking System relies heavily on the participation and success of teams belonging to these member unions, ultimately determining which teams are considered top-ranked internationally.

Women’s rankings

The World Rugby Ranking System determines the rankings for women’s teams based on their game results. The points exchange system is used to calculate the rankings, and successful team performances result in higher rankings.

Teams gain or lose points depending on match results, with World Rugby operating this global governing body‘s official ranking system for both men’s and women’s rugby.

Women’s teams are ranked according to their performance in international competitions, providing a measure of success and competitiveness within the sport of rugby. These rankings play a significant role in determining team standings in various international tournaments, including the prestigious Rugby World Cup.

Men’s rankings

Transitioning from the women’s rankings to the men’s, it’s important to note that the World Rugby Ranking System is used for both men’s and women’s rugby. The rankings play a significant role in determining which teams are on top of their game in international competitions.

Using an official points exchange system regulated by World Rugby, teams gain or lose points based on match results, providing a measure of their performance and success.

The men’s rankings are determined using head-to-head win-loss results between international rugby teams, with each team assigned ranking points based on their competitive matches.

Ranking Leaders

Explore the list of current top teams and see how their rankings have changed over time. Find out who currently leads both men’s and women’s rugby rankings! Ready to dive in?.

List of current top teams

Let’s take a look at the powerhouses of rugby as per the latest World Rugby Rankings. Here’s a snapshot of the current top teams that are dominating the international scene:

1New Zealand89.40
2South Africa88.20

These rankings reflect teams’ performance in international rugby, determined by their match results and the points they have earned. The World Rugby Ranking system is critical in showcasing the prowess of these teams on the global stage.

Changes in rankings over time

The World Rugby Ranking System has seen significant changes over time as teams continue to compete in international competitions, striving to improve their ranking positions. These changes reflect the dynamic nature of rugby and demonstrate the impact of match outcomes on team standings.

  1. Teams have experienced fluctuations in rankings, with some rising from lower positions to enter the top tier, while others have faced declines due to consecutive losses or changes in performance.
  2. Notable shifts in rankings have occurred as new teams emerge as strong contenders, challenging the traditional powerhouses of international rugby.
  3. The ranking system has witnessed adjustments based on the outcomes of major tournaments and matches, showcasing the influence of pivotal game results on team standings.
  4. Over time, certain teams have exhibited consistent progress, steadily climbing the rankings through a series of successful performances against formidable opponents.
  5. Conversely, other teams have encountered setbacks resulting in downward shifts within the ranking system, signaling the impact of match outcomes on overall standings.

Impact of Recent Tournaments on Rankings

The impact of recent tournaments on the World Rugby rankings will be discussed, including the top performers in men’s and women’s rugby, as well as the results of key tournaments such as the 2021 Rugby Europe Championship and La Vila International Rugby Cup.

Read on to learn more about how these events have influenced the rankings.

2023’s top performers in men’s and women’s rankings

The 2023 Rugby World Cup has had a significant impact on the World Rugby Rankings. Here’s how the top teams have performed:

  1. England’s men’s team has made a remarkable leap in the rankings, securing a top position after their stellar performance in the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
  2. New Zealand’s women’s team displayed outstanding prowess, maintaining their leading position in the rankings after dominating the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
  3. Australia’s men’s team moved up several places following their impressive performance, making significant gains in the rankings.
  4. The United States’ women’s team made history by climbing to an all-time high in the rankings after their exceptional display at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
  5. South Africa’s men’s team faced fluctuations in the rankings due to a mixed performance at the 2023 Rugby World Cup, resulting in some changes for this powerhouse team.
  6. Japan’s women’s team surprised many with their impressive rise in the rankings post their strong showing at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
  7. France’s men’s team encountered shifts in their ranking after notable performances during key matches at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Results of the 2021 Rugby Europe Championship

After the 2023’s top performers in men’s and women’s rankings, let’s shift our focus to the Results of the 2021 Rugby Europe Championship. The competition saw fierce battles between European rugby nations, ultimately impacting their standings within the World Rugby Rankings.

Teams such as Georgia and Romania showcased their strength on the field, solidifying their positions through hard-fought victories. Notably, these results sparked changes in their overall rankings due to impressive head-to-head wins against formidable opponents.

The tournament also brought about shifts in rankings for countries like Russia and Spain, as they faced both triumphs and setbacks during the championship. As a result of these matches, teams experienced fluctuations that influenced their point totals within the World Rugby Rankings system.

2021 La Vila International Rugby Cup

Following the recent results of the 2021 Rugby Europe Championship, the upcoming 2021 La Vila International Rugby Cup is set to be a significant event in shaping the World Rugby Rankings.

This tournament will provide an opportunity for teams to compete head-to-head and gain or lose points based on their match performance. The outcomes of this event will have an impact on how teams are positioned in the rankings, with potential for shifts in standings among both men’s and women’s rugby teams.

The 2021 La Vila International Rugby Cup will serve as a platform for member unions to showcase their talent and competitive edge, influencing their rankings moving forward. With each match contributing to the dynamic nature of the World Rugby Rankings, all eyes will be on this tournament as fans eagerly anticipate changes in team positioning based on their performances.

Notable Changes in Rankings

– Record highs and lows, including standout performances from underdog teams.

– Big gains and losses that have shaken up the rankings in recent years.

Record highs and lows

The World Rugby Rankings have seen teams reach record highs and lows over the years, reflecting their performance on the international stage. These milestones are indicative of the progress and setbacks experienced by different national teams. Here are some noteworthy achievements and downturns that have shaped the ranking landscape:

  1. Some teams have achieved their highest – ever ranking positions, signifying significant improvements in their performance on the global rugby stage.
  2. On the other hand, certain teams have faced their lowest – ever rankings due to challenging seasons or a series of disappointing results.
  3. Several nations have experienced remarkable upward trends, climbing steadily through the ranks to establish themselves as formidable competitors in international rugby.
  4. Conversely, a few teams have encountered sharp declines in their rankings, reflecting a period of struggle and need for restructuring.
  5. There have been instances where underdog teams defied expectations with remarkable climbs in rankings, garnering attention and respect within the rugby community.
  6. Conversely, well – established rugby powerhouses have encountered unexpected slumps in rankings, prompting introspection and strategic adjustments.
  7. Some teams have managed to sustain consistent high rankings over time, demonstrating enduring strength and competitiveness on the global rugby scene.
  8. Conversely, certain teams have grappled with maintaining previous high positions, facing challenges that impacted their standing within the World Rugby Rankings.
  9. The fluctuating nature of rankings has highlighted the dynamic nature of international rugby competition, showcasing both resilience and vulnerability among participating nations.
  10. Notably, historic rivalries and upsets have influenced fluctuations in team rankings, accentuating the unpredictable and captivating nature of international rugby dynamics at play.

Big gains and losses

The World Rugby Rankings have seen significant shifts in team positions, reflecting both gains and losses. These changes are a testament to the dynamic nature of international rugby competition. The rankings bear witness to monumental milestones and setbacks for teams from member nations. Notable instances include surprising comebacks, upsets, and remarkable advancements that have reshaped the global standings of rugby teams. Here are some standout examples of big gains and losses:

  1. A historic rise for the national team of a member union, marking an unprecedented leap in their ranking position.
  2. An unexpected drop for a prominent rugby powerhouse due to consecutive losses against lower – ranked opponents.
  3. Impressive performance at major tournaments leading to substantial points gained, propelling a team to a record-high ranking position.
  4. Unforeseen defeat resulting in significant points loss for a team previously positioned among the top contenders.
  5. Remarkable resurgence for a national team, bouncing back from a series of defeats to achieve a notable climb in the rankings.
  6. Unexpected underperformance by a traditionally strong team leading to an alarming decline in their global standing.


In conclusion, the World Rugby Ranking System is a crucial tool for determining the standings of teams in international competitions. It measures a team’s performance and success in international rugby competition using a points exchange system.

The rankings play a significant role in evaluating the strength and competitiveness of teams in the sport of rugby, influencing how teams are perceived globally. Operating for both men’s and women’s rugby, this official ranking system has become an essential aspect of understanding and analysing the world of rugby.


1. What does the World Rugby Ranking System measure?

The World Rugby Ranking System measures international rankings, showing which rugby union teams are performing best based on their win-loss results in head-to-head matches.

2. How are the rugby union rankings calculated?

Rankings are calculated using a points system that adds or subtracts points from a team’s total after each match, reflecting their performance against other teams.

3. Can head-to-head results change a team’s position in the International Rankings?

Yes, head-to-head win-loss outcomes directly impact a team’s standing since they determine how many points a team gains or loses in the ranking calculation process.

4. Is there more to rankings than just winning or losing matches?

Indeed! While wins and losses matter greatly, the performance ranking also considers the strength of opposing teams and where matches take place, affecting point exchanges.

Related News

Rugby tactics have changed a lot in ten years. Teams now play smarter, using new...
Rugby fans love a good surprise, and the latest global rankings are full of them....
Rugby’s thrilling action comes with a risk of injury, challenging players and fans alike. Smart...
Feeling the rush of fierce rugby showdowns? Rivalries in rugby hold a storied past, painting...
As rugby fans, we’ve all winced at the hard hits and injuries players endure on...
Are you curious about the growth of rugby in emerging nations? The global participation in...
Rugby isn’t just for the boys; women are making big waves too. With over 2.7...
Rugby is tough, not just in the tackles but in the mind too. It demands...
Struggling to keep up on the rugby field? You’re not alone. This blog post packs...