Source: INPHO

Rankings – A Comparison

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Let’s take a look at how the men’s and women’s teams for select nations compare in world rankings (with many thanks to Capgemini, who provide World Rugby with these stats).

                                          W     M    Total       Ave    Gap      In Favour of

England                           1        6        7            3.5       5            W by 5
New Zealand                  2        2        4           2.0       0             Even
France                             3        3         6          3.0       0              Even
Canada                            4       23      27         13.5     19           W by 19
Australia                         5         8       13          6.5      3.0          M by 3
Wales                              6         9       15           7.5      3.0          W by 3
Scotland                         9         6        15          7.5      3.0           M by 3
Ireland                           10        1         11          5.5      10            M by 9
South Africa                  12        4        16          8.0     8.0          M by 8


The first column shows women’s rankings, as of 31/7/23 The second, men’s rankings
I add the two together in the third column
The fourth averages the total out
The fifth column shows the gap between the two placements
The sixth column shows which team lies ahead and by how much (final score: M 4, W 3, two draws)

This list of nine nations started with the top 6 in women’s rugby. To them I added Ireland, South Africe and Scotland, owing to their higher placement in the men’s game.

None of the second to sixth columns shows a regular trend.

The big gaps in standing (Canada, Ireland, S. Africa) are as remarkable as the even scores posted by NZ and France.

Behind each cold stat lies a long story of indulgence countered by neglect. But if the women’s game is marked by the latter, the Maple Leafs stand as an astonishing counter. They deserve high praise for all they have achieved.

England are a different case. Some Englishmen still cannot accept the ‘favoured’ treatment the Red Roses are given, as they see it. But the men’s team enjoy the same privileged position as them, yet fall a distance short of equivalent success.

Aotearoa will be thoroughly discontented with twin second places; they are used to standing clear above the rest. Both the All Blacks and the Black Ferns have the chance to set the record straight, the 2023 World Cup in France (September) and the WXV1 tournament at home in October.

Which brings us to France, who match the Kiwis in occupying the same position in both ranking lists. Not only they think it’s high time they produced the goods at a major tournament. Like the Ferns, Les Bleus have a golden chance coming their way at home.

.Each of the remaining nations has its own story to tell: the popularity of rugby set against its sporting rivals; the financial well-being of the union; the value placed on the women’s game; the reaction of the board to results gained, care and neglect variously distributed.