A look at the power rankings heading into the 2023 Rugby World Cup

Based on the teams’ recent performances in the warm-up matches, we have ranked them ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

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Romania 20

Despite a coaching change so close to the World Cup, The Oaks are ranked the lowest in our power rankings.

Prior to the tournament, they were defeated 17-31 by the USA, followed by heavy losses to Georgia (56-6) and Italy (57-7).

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Chile 19

Since the South Americans are making their Rugby World Cup debuts, they are flying under the radar.

Despite losing by a point to Uruguay and by two to Namibia and an Argentina XV, they did have some promising displays ahead of the tournament.

Namibia 18

An African side coached by former Springbok coach Allister Coetzee beat Chile 26-28 before the World Cup.

They also lost 43-30 to a young Bulls team.

Portugal 17

This is Portugal’s second Rugby World Cup, their first since 2007.

In Rugby Europe, they had a solid debut before defeating USA (46-20) earlier this month and putting up a good fight against Australia A, who beat them 17-30 with a late scoring flurry in the final 10 minutes.

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Uruguay 16

A win over Chile, a win over Namibia, and a thumping 33-13 victory over an Argentina XV will give Los Teros confidence heading into the Rugby World Cup.

Pool A contenders will be wary of the South Americans who stunned Fiji four years ago because they lack top-tier competition.

Tonga 15

Despite claiming back-to-back wins over Canada, Tonga also lost centre George Moala to suspension throughout the tournament.

Japan 14

As they have failed to reproduce their 2019 form, the Brave Blossoms head into the World Cup somewhat under the radar.

During the Pacific Nations Cup, Jamie Joseph’s side lost to Samoa and Fiji, and narrowly beat Tonga. In their final preparation game, Italy swept them aside 42-21.

It hasn’t quite clicked for the 2019 hosts, but Pool D will certainly be interesting if it does.

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Georgia 13

Despite ranking two places lower than their official world ranking, the Lelos should not be overlooked.

Georgia’s scrum struggled against Scotland in their final warm-up game, and although they defended well in the first half, they were shredded in the second half.

It may have taken the Georgians by surprise that they lost to Scotland after solid wins over Romania and the USA.

Italians are perhaps unlucky to be outside of the top 10, but the earlier defeats to Scotland and Ireland in the Summer Series have influenced their power rankings.

By pummeling Romania and Japan, Kieran Crowley’s side didn’t fall further behind.

England 11

During the Rugby World Cup warm-up, England players were dejected after conceding a try to Fiji.

In the Red Rose’s Rugby World Cup opener against Argentina, they would likely move back into the top 10, but England are at one of their lowest points in history, and their power ranking reflects that.

A week later, they avoided back-to-back defeats by the skin of their teeth after being comfortable beaten by Wales in Cardiff. Then, after a 29-10 win in Dublin, Steve Borthwick’s side suffered a loss to a tier two nation, Fiji, at English Rugby’s home ground.

They are ranked three places lower than their official world ranking due to the suspension of captain Owen Farrell and a lack of cohesion among the players during warm-ups.

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Samoa 10

Samoa is just above England in Pool D.

After a strong performance against the world number one side, Ireland, Seilala Mapusua has the Pacific Islanders steaming into the World Cup.

However, Samoa’s stunning victory in Bayonne wasn’t the only positive result in the past 24 months, as a botched lineout cost them a victory.

In the Pacific Nations Cup this year, Fiji was the only team to defeat Manu Samoa, while they won the tournament in 2022 and beat Georgia and Romania.

Australia 9

While the gaps between 12th and 9th on our list are marginal, the Wallabies took the lead with a strong performance against France in their last preparation game.

Although Eddie Jones has lost all five of Australia’s first games as coach, there have been notable developments that have culminated in their ranking rise.

If the Wallabies fail to defeat Fiji in their World Cup opener, they will lose their edge against strong opposition.

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Wales 8

In this respect, Warren Gatland’s men can count themselves lucky that they are not lower down on the list with other poor showings, meaning that they are the best of the worst tier one nations.

Their Summer Series ended with a 2-1 record, but that defeat was the biggest Warren Gatland has seen with Wales.

Fiji 7

At Twickenham, Fiji celebrates their victory over England.

In our power rankings, the Flying Fijians are fairly ranked, but they are pushing for a higher position.

In a Pacific Nations Cup sweep, Simon Raiwalui has transformed Fiji’s pack into the true weapon that it always promised to be.

This historic victory at Twickenham may just be the beginning of a memorable year for Fijian Rugby; we’ll have to wait and see.

Argentina 6

A resounding 3-62 victory over Spain in the final warm-up game saved Fiji from switching places with Los Pumas.

Despite running the Springboks close in their third match of the year, Cheika’s charges were well beaten at home a week later after winning only one game in the Rugby Championship against the Wallabies.

In the World Cup, Argentina could go incredibly deep if everything clicks.

Scotland 5

As with Argentina, the Scots are well-drilled and could cause a few upsets at the World Cup.

In their first warm-up game, they defeated the Azzurri easily before coming from behind to defeat France 25-21 at Murrayfield. However, they could not go back-to-back against Les Bleus a week later.

After going scoreless in the first half, Gregor Townsend’s side scored five tries in the second half to win 33-6.

Their dominance of the Georgian packs will give them confidence against the Springboks.

New Zealand 4

The All Blacks dropped to fourth in our power rankings after a record defeat at Twickenham.

Foster’s team had not lost a game since August last year, but their shocking loss at Twickenham has caused them to drop, as unlike Ireland last week, they were fielding their strongest team.

It was a hammer blow before their World Cup opener against France, but one that might benefit them as it exposed the holes in their game that no other team really exploited.

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Ireland 3

Ireland is ranked just above the All Blacks in our power rankings.

Despite winning their warm-up games against Italy and England, Andy Farrell’s players came close to losing their final match to Samoa.

The match showed that Ireland can be exposed, especially when their frontline players aren’t starting. Samoa also won the scrums.

On form, Ireland is just behind the top two in our top four.

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France 2

Antoine Dupont and Damian Penaud celebrate.

After an injury in the second game against Scotland, France lost Romain Ntamack for the World Cup, and then prop Cyril Baille and center Jonathan Danty.

As well as the injuries, Fabien Galthie will be pleased with the results, as France were able to defeat Scotland and Australia despite both teams putting up a good fight.

At the moment, their ruthlessness on attack is unmatched in world rugby, but their defence still leaks tries and they just miss out on the top spot.

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South Africa 1

With the top four so close, the Springboks top the charts after a resounding win over fellow top four side, New Zealand.

The South Africans ended their preparations with two record victories, both against teams with whom they have historically had close encounters.

Nienaber named two vastly different teams for the two matches, while Siya Kolisi’s return has been a huge boost to the Springboks.

Against New Zealand, Manie Libbok eased concerns about their placekicking.

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