Seedings for Rugby World Cup 2019 are likely to be based on international results in 2017, it has emerged.
Ireland and Scotland battled on Saturday with the hope of securing a high ranking for the seeding process, which was expected to be carried out post Six Nations. It has emerged today that that may not be the case after all.
Governing body World Rugby looks likely to change the format so the seedings are based on rankings taken just two years ahead of 2019 World Cup in Japan rather than three. So instead of the seedings being set in stone this summer, we can expect them to be finalised in the second or third quarter of 2017.
As things stand Scotland sit in ninth place (78.32 points) in the World Rugby rankings, just out of the top two groups of seeds. However they have perhaps 10-13 more matches in which to to climb above the French, who are currently ranked eighth (78.36 points), or Ireland in seventh place (80.33). Both have tougher assignments this summer than the Scots who travel to Japan.
Ireland play a Test series in South Africa and face two games against the All Blacks, while France must travel to Argentina with what will probably be a much weakened squad of players. The tour dates coincide with the semi-finals of the French Top 14.