World Rankings - Rugby Union XV - Men & Women

Publié le par Serge Piquet

Version française.

You will find here a Countries’ World Ranking for Men’s Xv’s Rugby which has existed since October 2009 and now contains 187 countries, whereas the World Rugby’s (former IRB) official rankings only contains 103.

You also will find here a Countries’ World Ranking for Women’s Xv’s Rugby which has also existed since October 2009 and now contains 69 countries, whereas the World Rugby’s official rankings (which has existed since February 2016, 1st) only contains 52.

Calculation method

For every international match, I've attributed, since 1871 for men and 1982 for women, points to every country as a sum of several elements.

I mainly take into account the match level (generally the points average of the 2 teams before the match, with minima) and  the kind of result (400 for a win, 200 for a draw, 100 for a defeat or 0 for a forfeit in an official competition).

But I also count the match venue (0 or 25 at home according to the opponent from the continent or not, 25 in an other country of its own continent, 50 on neutral ground, 75 in a country of the continent of its opponent, 100 or 75 away according to the opponent), the number of scored points and the difference between the number of scored points and the number of scored points by the opponent.

Finally, I add a bonus for WRC (50 in qualifying, 100 in final phase, 150 in play offs and 200 in the final).

There are a few exceptions in this method, in particular when countries play A, B , Emerging, Amateur, Junior, Student, Army, Police or Services teams, even provinces or clubs in official competitions.

In an official competition too, results of A, B, Emerging or Juniors teams can make the said country points marginally move, with a specific calculation.

Finally, matches results with « special » teams (British Lions, Barbarians, Nomads, Maoris, Pacific Islanders…) are counted and these teams classified apart.

The points number after the match is equal to the sum of 10% of the  match points and 90 % of the points number before the match (possibly 20 % and 80 % for women's teams playing very few or in the World Cup). This method allows to take less into account  surprises and requires regularity in performance to progress. Besides, it favors countries the level of which improves by often playing to the detriment of those who play few, the number moreover decreasing in 2% each year.

Other rankings

I did this men’s rankings (besides a specific ranking for World cups only) because I wasn’t satisfied enough by the official World Rugby’s ranking which presents according to me many qualities but which, and I regret it, only concerns a restricted number of countries (103 at present).

The ranking doesn’t take in account the level of the teams which is the main criterion I retain for every match because the World Rugby’s principle is simple : the winner gains some points, the loser loses them.

It doesn’t take into consideration the games against the countries which aren't members of World Rugby, even when the tournament is organized by a World Rugby affiliated federation,   nor does it the matches against the teams I called special, as well as those against ranked teams having a difference of more or less than 10 points in a 0 to 100 ranking.

Finally, any (rare) introduction in the World Rugby’s rankings is arbitrarily fixed to the same level (30 points since December 2012, 1st and 40 before), no matter what the previous results of the countries are. They had to (officially but it wasn’t always the case) have played at least 10 matches to be classified.

I know several other international men’s rankings on 2014 as RugInt (rugby international) with 124 countries in continental rankings (144 since 2006) but only 31 in its world ranking (44), rugbyredefined with 151 countries et and WRR (world rugby rankings) with 75 countries only.

Disappeared AQB (rugby and cricket) on March 2012 with 60 countries and 78 more in continental rankings, inforugby on March 2005 with 50 ranked countries (among more than 70), Mazlenaz on October 2007 with 132 countries and Roon Ba (50 different sports, 64 now) on November 2012 (it was created on January 2011) with 152 countries as well as, more formerly, GURR (Global Unofficial Rugby Rankings), IRUPT (International Rugby Union Performance Table), SIRR (Soccerwizard International Rugby Rating), WBR (Warren Burrows Ranking) or Zurich Rankings.

I finally did the women’s rankings (which had became on July 2013, 5th with my authorization, the ScrumQueens’s monthly one) because there wasn’t still any official ranking for World Rugby, which  generally only refered to the  latest World Cup classification with 12 countries. A not-so-convincing sketch had been realized at the end of 2014 and I'd been contacted by World Rugby to see how to improve it but I wasn’t able to answer it for lack of time. An official ranking with 52 countries (base 49) is so on line since February 2016, 1st, with recalculation until 1987.

Roon Ba’s rankings with 41 countries, created on January 2011, are no more online since November 2012. Also, an unofficial ranking (called IRB’s) was on en.wikipedia from June till July, 2013 with 54 countries and regrettably reproduced, even multiplied, certain Men’s errors, namely the introduction fixed to 60 points and, especially, the absence of taking in account the level of the teams. Finally, we could find on T2R from May till August, 2014 a ranking with 25 countries which seemed to follow World Rugby’s criteria.


To present my men’s ranking on October 2009, 7th (Serge’s feast), I worked more than 2 years to compile data from all the important sites (thanks to them) : former IRB, RugbyInternational (special thanks to Gary Carbines), RugbyData, Scrum, 2Rugby, archives from the "Timbrés du Rugby", en.wikipedia and Mazlenaz. And also to realize multiple tests which allowed me to validate the method.

For the women’s ranking, set up on the same day, I worked one year to compile data from all the important sites (thanks to them) : former IRB, University of Idaho and en.wikipedia (special thanks to John Birch from ScrumQueens). And here too with multiple tests.

Thanks also to Quentin, to Helen, to "Ilgorgo" and to all the others members of the closed in April 2015 forum of the former FIRA-AER (Rugby Europe), for all the written news, and please keep sharing them somewhere else !


Serge Piquet - October 2009 / October 2017



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