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Below are our rankings for the Women’s International sides. These differ from the official World Rankings as calculated by World Rugby. For more details on how these are calculated, please see here for the details. The quick version is that difference in ranking points equates roughly to points difference in a match played between the two sides at a neutral venue.
If we look specifically at the Six Nations sides, it is pretty clear that England and France are significantly ahead of the rest. Both of them are around 30 points ahead of Wales, Ireland and Italy. And these in turn are around 10 points head of Scotland.
We have a sort of ‘tiering’ taking place, which should reflect how the Championship goes. England and France are top, and are competing for the title. Wales, Ireland and Italy are fighting for the middle of the table, and each can beat the others on their day. And sadly for Scotland, they are bringing up the rear, with a win over the others a fairly long shot.
The title is between England and France, realistically. It would be quite a major upset if anyone else won it. Between them they have won 21 of the 23 tournaments since 1998 (England 15 and France 6) with Ireland taking the other two in 2013 and 2015.
The showdown match between the two is in fact the very first weekend, in Stade du Hameau in Pau, France. French home advantage brings the sides closer than the ranking difference, with the predicted score currently 22 – 23 to England. This could be a real nail biter, and could effectively decide the Championship in week 1.
Indeed, whoever wins is not only likely to win the title, but also extremely likely to win the Grand Slam. Should France win they have a 79% chance of a Grand Slam. Should England win, they have a 91% chance of a Grand Slam. Remarkable dominance from those sides.
If you’re a French or English fan, or generally just interested in where the title might go, this is certainly the one to watch.
Well then, I’d recommend watching any of the triumvirate of Ireland, Wales and Italy play each other. These sides are unlikely to turn over any of the big guns, but the matches between the three of them are all close, and there really isn’t much between 3rd and 5th. A few points here or there could really define their Championship.
Ireland are predicted to have the best run, as they have both Wales and Italy at home, and are predicted to win both by 6 and 5 points.
Wales have one of each. Italy at home and Ireland away, and there is 4 and 6 points in both of those matches.
Italy have the worst set of games as they are playing both sides away from home. However there is only 4 and 5 points in both of those matches, so all to play for.
Unfortunately for the Scots, they are lowest ranked of the lot. The best that they can reasonably hope for is a solitary win, and due to the location of their fixtures, this might be difficult. Scotland play England and France at home, and Wales, Ireland and Italy away. The best chance the Algorithm gives them of victory is against Wales in their last match. And even then they have just a 20% chance. Good luck to them, it could be a tough tournament for the Scots.