The pool allocation draw for the 2015 World Cup in England at the end of the year makes securing a high IRB world ranking position vital this year.
The draw will take place in London on December 3 with the teams seeded based on their world ranking on the day of the draw, and positioned into three bands of four teams. The teams will then be randomly drawn by band into the four pools that will comprise rugby's showcase event in 2015.
What that means is that the top four sides in the world should avoid playing each other until the semifinal stages, unless there is an upset in the pool rounds - such as there was last year when Australia lost to Ireland and took on the South Africa in the quarterfinals as a result.
The next four highest ranked directly qualified teams will be in the second band of the draw, with the final four of the qualified teams in the third band. The 12 teams that finished in the top three of each pool at the 2011 World Cup have already qualified for the 2015 edition.
RWC 2015 in England will comprise 20 teams allocated into four pools: 12 teams that automatically qualified from RWC 2011; and eight teams that will come through the RWC 2015 global qualifier process which kicked-off in March this year.
"The format of seeding teams for the World Cup Pool Allocation draw using the IRB world rankings is a credible, succinct and proven method that reflects form, stimulates interest and is backed by our unions," RWCL Chairman Bernard Lapasset said
"With every Test match played between now and the draw counting towards the world rankings the pool draw adds an extra dimension to a mouth-watering year that features the new tours and Test schedule as well as Argentina's inclusion in the new Rugby Championship."
The draw will give some extra motivation for the June Tests, as the northern hemisphere tour and go in search of a prized southern hemisphere scalp to end the season on a high.
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.