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Power Rankings: Who leads the way before the Summer Nations Series gets underway

Power Rankings: Who leads the way before the Summer Nations Series gets underway

Power Rankings: Who leads the way before the Summer Nations Series gets underway

With the Summer Nations Series starting this week and the Rugby World Cup on the horizon, teams are in the shop window.

The Rugby Championship is in full swing, with the final round happening this weekend, while the Pacific Nations Cup also kicked off last weekend, as the European nations kick start their World Cup preparations over the next fortnight.

With so much action throughout the rugby world ahead of a hugely exciting summer and autumn for the sport, we are going to be running a weekly Power Rankings feature, to keep you in the loop of each team’s progress before the World Cup gets underway.

So, without further ado, here are our power rankings for the Summer Nations Series.

Disagree? Let us know what you think on the Summer Nations Series social channels!

1.       Ireland 

Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam winners Ireland have not played since they lifted the title in Dublin in March but they remain the team to beat as world number one.

Following an historic series win in New Zealand last summer, Andy Farrell’s men went on a clean sweep in the Autumn Nations Series, before sealing a first ever Grand Slam in Dublin.

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This Ireland team may well be the strongest we have ever seen, and they will hope to go further than any Irish team before them at the World Cup, after a Summer Nations Series campaign that sees them face Italy, England and Samoa.

2.       France 

France also went through the Autumn Nations Series unscathed before a Guinness Six Nations to remember. They were beaten by Ireland in Dublin in a thriller but a 53-10 demolition of England at Twickenham saw them at their scintillating best.

Les Bleus have not lost on home soil since a 27-23 defeat to Scotland in the final match of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations, showing just how strong their chances are to win their first World Cup this year.

Before then they have two intriguing meetings with Scotland before facing Fiji and Australia in the Summer Nations Series.

3.       South Africa 

The reigning world champions South Africa endured defeats to both Ireland and France in the Autumn Nations Series but did beat both Italy and England with relative ease.

That form continued in the Rugby Championship, easing to a 43-12 win over Australia in Pretoria, inspired by a world class hat-trick from Kurt-Lee Arendse.

They were beaten 35-20 by the All Blacks though, showing there is still work to do ahead of the World Cup – which they will hope to address in their final match against Argentina before a Summer Nations Series encounter with Wales.

4.       Scotland 

Scotland have shown over the past couple of years that on their day they are capable of beating anybody – as shown by their 52-29 win over Argentina and wins over both England and Wales on the way to a third place finish in the Guinness Six Nations.

Now they strive for consistency, which they will hope to find this summer – facing Italy and Georgia either side of two Tests against France.

5.       England 

England took on two of their World Cup group opponents in the Autumn Nations Series – losing to Argentina 30-29, before a 52-13 win over Japan.

Now in the Steve Borthwick era, they won just two of their five Guinness Six Nations matches for the third successive campaign and now hope to piece things together with Summer Nations Series clashes with Wales, Fiji and Ireland.

6.       Australia 

The Wallabies came close to wins over France, Ireland and Italy, losing all three matches by a combined five points either side of important wins over Scotland and Wales in a hectic Autumn Nations Series.

Back under the tutelage of Eddie Jones, they have begun their Autumn Nations Series with defeats to both South Africa and Argentina.

All eyes will be on their Bledisloe Cup clash with the All Blacks this weekend before their mouth-watering clash with France in the final match of the Summer Nations Series.

7.       Samoa 

Buoyed by the addition of Christian Leali’ifano, Samoa extended their winning streak to three in Sapporo after wins in the autumn against Georgia and Romania.

With more new recruits to be embedded in the side, Samoa are definitely one to keep an eye on ahead of their Pacific Nations Cup conclusion and a trip to Dublin.

8.       Wales 

Wales had a difficult Autumn Nations Series, with their sole win coming against Argentina and defeats against New Zealand, Georgia and Australia compounded by just one win in the Guinness Six Nations.

Warren Gatland is back at the helm though and his record at the World Cup is excellent, making their Summer Nations Series clashes with England and South Africa all the more compelling.

9.       Fiji 

Fiji were defeated by both Scotland and Ireland in the Autumn Nations Series but have got their Pacific Nations Cup campaign off to a flying start with a 36-20 win over Tonga, led by debutant fly-half Caleb Muntz.

They now travel to Apia for a huge challenge against Samoa before a trip to Tokyo concludes that competition. Next, they head to Europe for matches against France and England ahead of the World Cup.

10.   Italy 

The Azzurri defeated Australia for the first time in their history in November but could not quite turn that into a run of form during the Guinness Six Nations and suffered five defeats.

Ange Capuozzo is a real superstar and with Paolo Odogwu set to wreak havoc in the midfield, Italy will be hoping they can string wins together as they face Scotland, Ireland, Romania and Japan this August.

11.   Georgia 

Georgia’s historic 13-12 win over Wales in Cardiff showed their potential ahead of a World Cup where they will face the same opposition in the group stage.

Georgia takeaways

That followed a first ever win over Italy in the summer and they will be hoping to claim another major scalp against Scotland in the Summer Nations Series.

12.   Japan 

There were flashes of Japan’s brilliance against both Samoa and a New Zealand XV but ultimately, the Brave Blossoms have not won since last June.

They will finish the Pacific Nations Cup against Tonga and Fiji before an intriguing battle with Italy in Treviso.

13. Romania

Beaten by Georgia in the Rugby Europe Championship semi-finals in March, Romania bounced back to overcome Spain 31-25 in a thrilling bronze medal match.

They will look to provide Italy with a stern test when the sides meet in Week 3 of the Summer Nations Series.


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