World Rugby Women's Rankings preview: 3-4 November, 2023

World Rugby Women's Rankings preview: 3-4 November, 2023

World Rugby has published the permutations for the final round of matches in WXV 1 in New Zealand.

Permutation highlights:

  • England will be crowned the inaugural WXV 1 champions if they avoid defeat against New Zealand in a repeat of the Rugby World Cup 2021 final a year ago. They could also claim the title in defeat, depending on the number of bonus points both teams manage to secure.
  • If New Zealand win and the teams finish on the same competition points, then the Black Ferns will be crowned champions on the head-to-head rule. However, even a bonus-point win will not be enough for New Zealand if England come away with two bonus points in defeat.
  • The Black Ferns must win by more than 15 points to return to top spot in the rankings for the first time since November 2020 – a scenario which would give them a narrow 0.38 cushion over England.
  • However, a win by the same margin to avenge that heartbreaking final loss will see the Red Roses increase their advantage at the top of the rankings to 5.62 rating points over New Zealand.
  • The Black Ferns cannot fall from second place even if beaten by more than 15 points as third-ranked France can only close to 0.39 rating points with a similarly emphatic victory over Canada.
  • Canada’s last outing with France on New Zealand soil saw them lose 36-0 in the RWC 2021 bronze final, but even if they can avenge that loss, they will not be able to overtake Les Bleues in the rankings.
  • However, a win by more than 15 points would see Canada slash the deficit between the two teams from 4.53 rating points to just 0.17 points.
  • Australia cannot improve on fifth place even if they beat Wales by more than 15 points in Friday’s match, although they could cut the deficit to Canada above from 3.85 rating points to 2.08 if the North American side lose heavily to France.
  • Wales will remain sixth even with a heavy defeat by Australia to leave WXV 1 without a victory.
  • However, a win by more than 15 points would see the sides swap places with Wales climbing to a new high of fifth.


  • Hollie Davidson (Scotland) will take charge of Australia v Wales for the first time, having only refereed the Wallaroos once before back in August 2019. The Scottish official has refereed Wales four times by contrast, most recently for their 56-12 loss to New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup 2021 pool stage in Auckland last October. 
  • Maggie Cogger-Orr (New Zealand) will referee France v Canada for the first time in what is a repeat of the RWC 2021 bronze final. She refereed Canada's loss to England last weekend – her first test featuring the country of her birth – while Les Bleues have won all three matches with Cogger-Orr in the middle, including one against South Africa at RWC 2021 in Auckland.
  • Aimee Barrett-Theron (South Africa) will become the most-capped female referee in test history in her own right when she takes charge of England v New Zealand for the second time, having been in the middle for the Red Roses' 43-12 win in October 2021. In fact England are yet to lose in 12 tests with Barrett-Theron as referee. 

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