Three of the four Rugby Championship teams have a chance to improve their position in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings powered by Capgemini this weekend as the southern hemisphere’s leading tournament reaches a critical stage.

Heading into round two, Argentina are the surprise leaders on points difference from Australia, with both teams on five points, while South Africa and New Zealand sit a point further back in third and fourth.

With just six places and less than seven rating points between all four teams, it is almost inevitable that there will be changes to the rankings as a result of this weekend’s fixtures. 

New Zealand are up against Australia in Christchurch and Australia take on South Africa in Adelaide, with both games being played on Saturday.

South Africa, ranked in third, are the only team unable to move higher than their current position as France have just about a big enough advantage over them to stay second even if the Springboks buck the trend of recent results and win handsomely in Australia.

South Africa will drop two places if they lose by more than 15 points and New Zealand also beat Argentina, while Australia could climb up to sixth if results got their way. Equally, Australia run the risk of dropping to a new all-time low of ninth if beaten at home.

Big reward for Los Pumas in victory

As for the top versus bottom encounter in Christchurch – albeit in not the order that many people would have imagined – New Zealand will climb above South Africa into third place if they avoid defeat against Argentina and the Springboks lose to Australia. If both teams win, the All Blacks cannot catch the Springboks.

From a rankings perspective, Argentina have nothing to lose as Los Pumas will hang onto ninth place whatever the result. But a draw or a win would lift them at least two places – above Wales and Scotland – with sixth place possible if the margin is big enough.

Aside from the Rugby Championship, the Sudamérica Rugby 3 Naciones 2022 reaches a conclusion in Barranquilla on Saturday and Brazil will be crowned champions if they beat hosts Colombia.

Paraguay upset Colombia 21-13 in the opening round last Saturday, before Brazil triumphed 31-28 over Paraguay on Wednesday.

Brazil provisionally climbed one place on the back of beating Paraguay 31-28 on Wednesday and will retain 27th place if they come out on top again this weekend. Colombia will drop one or two places in defeat depending on the margin.

However, Los Tucanes will climb one place to 35th if they beat their higher-ranked opponents.