Rugby World Cup: Scotland need rankings rise to avoid being third seeds
Seedings will be based on the World Rugby Rankings after the 2020 November international Test window.
Scotland are currently ranked ninth in the world, behind Japan, who defeated them in last year’s World Cup pool stage.
As things stand, Gregor Townsend’s side would be in the third pot of seeds which makes for a tough pool stage draw, with the Scots up against a nation from each of the top two pots of seeds when the tournament kicks off in France in 2023.
The first pot would currently feature South Africa, New Zealand, England, and Wales, while the second pot would contain Ireland, Australia, France, and Japan. Scotland would be joined in the third pot by Argentina, Fiji, and Italy.
These 12 countries have all qualified automatically for the 2023 World Cup owing to a top-three ranking in their respective pools at the 2019 tournament in Japan. The other eight teams would come from the World Cup qualifying process.
Scotland failed to qualify from their World Cup group last year for only the second time in nine tournaments, defeats by Ireland in their opening match and Japan in the final pool game condemning them to an early exit.
To avoid being in the third pot of seeds for the 2023 World Cup, Scotland would need to climb into the top eight in the world rankings.
To do this Townsend’s side would need to enjoy a decent sequence of results over the course of a year which features some tough matches.
After the Six Nations Scotland will embark on a summer tour which will see them play two Tests against world champions South Africa and one against New Zealand.
The Scots will then host Argentina, Japan and the All Blacks at Murrayfield in November in the last Tests to be played before the 2023 World Cup seedings are confirmed.