Either England or South Africa will end the weekend on top of the World Rugby Men's Rankings, the question is which one will lift the Webb Ellis Cup at International Stadium Yokohama on Saturday to be crowned Rugby World Cup 2019 winners and number one side in the world?

England returned to the summit for the first time since June 2004 after booking their ticket to a third Rugby World Cup final with a dominant 19-7 defeat of New Zealand last weekend.

However, their time at the summit will end if South Africa continue their trend of lifting the Webb Ellis Cup every 12 years since their victorious debut in 1995.

The Springboks have not topped the rankings since 16 November, 2009 – the day New Zealand replaced them and began a 509-week reign as the number one ranked team. 


Both teams can record their highest ever rating in victory, although England would have to win by more than 15 points to break their 94.00 tally set back in March 2004.

The same is true of Wales if they beat New Zealand by that margin in the bronze final, taking their rating above 90 points for the first time since the rankings were introduced in October 2003 and into second place on Friday evening.

A Welsh win – their first over the All Blacks since December 1953 – would not only secure their first bronze medal since the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987, but would also condemn New Zealand to their lowest ever rating and position of fourth.

The All Blacks will return to second place if they make it 31 wins in a row against Wales, but would need England to be crowned world champions or South Africa to triumph by more than 15 points to retain that place after the curtain comes down on RWC 2019.

During RWC 2019, where points exchanges are doubled to reflect the importance of the tournament, the World Rugby Men’s Rankings will update after every match.