Wales have dropped to eighth in the World Rugby rankings after their disappointing Six Nations campaign came to an end at the weekend.
France have enjoyed a rise to fourth place with their runner-up position in the championship, while Scotland have actually overtaken Wales to claim seventh place.
Wales’ 14-10 defeat to Scotland in Llanelli on Saturday marked a fifth consecutive defeat for Wayne Pivac’s side – four Championship games and the 38-21 warm-up defeat to France in October.
It’s the first time Wales have lost four games in the Six Nations since 2007, while Scotland’s first win in Wales in 18 years means last year’s Rugby World Cup semi-finalists slumped to a fifth-placed Six Nations finish just a year after a Grand Slam.
It wasn’t so long ago Wales reached the top of the world rankings in August 2019 thanks to a win over England in a World Cup warm-up match. The 13-6 win over Eddie Jones’ men knocked the All Blacks from the top spot for the first time in 10 years.
By the time South Africa claimed the world title in the World Cup, Warren Gatland’s time as Wales coach ended with his side ranked fourth in the world.
Fortunately for Wayne Pivac and his Wales team, it’s those same rankings – strictly from January 2020 – which are being used as the basis for the 2023 Rugby World Cup draw, meaning Wales are actually top seeds for the 2023 tournament in France.
World Rugby made the decision to use January’s ranking positions instead of post-autumn standings after acknowledging that not all qualified teams will play this year and as such, they deemed it the fairest scenario.
Scotland are only third seeds, along with Argentina, Fiji and Italy, despite now being ranked ahead of Wales after October’s Super Saturday results.
The 2023 draw situation takes a huge amount of pressure off Wales boss Pivac, who could have been heading into a four-match Autumn Nations Cup knowing further defeats would have seen Wales slip outside the top eight and into the band of third seeds for the World Cup.
The latest world rugby rankings after 2020 Six Nations ends
- South Africa (94.20 points)
- New Zealand (91.84)
- England (88.42)
- France (84.59)
- Ireland (84.10)
- Australia (82.19)
- Scotland (82.08)
- Wales (80.22)
- Japan (79.29)
- Argentina (78.31)