London - This year's forthcoming European series of rugby internationals has been given an added dimension as they will determine the seedings for next month's draw for the 2015 World Cup in England.
The International Rugby Board's world rankings will be used to rank the 12 directly qualified teams for England 2015 into three bands for that draw.
Those teams ranked one to four will, importantly, avoid each other until the knockout stages, with those in positions five to eight in band two and the remaining four in band three.
Avoiding reigning world champions and current world No 1s New Zealand will be on the agenda for such rival leading teams as South Africa, England, France and Australia.
England, who face Fiji at Twickenham on Saturday, are currently fourth but just 0.06 rating points in front of France, who play Australia this weekend.
However, as the rankings reward a side beating a team above them, England's matches against Australia, South Africa and New Zealand in consecutive weeks will have more bearing on the battle for a top four World Cup seeding.
Ireland will be gunning a fourth win in five Tests over South Africa when they play the Springboks in Dublin on Saturday.
If France lose, then they could slip further from their top four goal with Wales climbing above them if they start their November campaign with victory over Argentina at the Millennium Stadium.
New Zealand will look to bounce back from a draw with Australia that ended their hopes of setting a new world record for most consecutive Test victories when they face Scotland, who've never beaten the All Blacks in more than a hundred years of trying, at Murrayfield on Sunday.
Victory will have no impact on New Zealand's rating but were Scotland to cause one of the all-time great upsets they would enter the top eight, a place they need if they are to avoid a possible 'group of death' scenario that could scupper their hopes of getting into the knockout stages of the 2015 World Cup.
The Springboks, currently ranked third, will also be out to ensure they stay in the top four to avoid possibly being drawn in the same RWC group as Southern Hemisphere rivals New Zealand or Australia.
After the Test against Ireland on Saturday, the Boks face Scotland a week later in Edinburgh before concluding their tour against England in London on November 24.
Leading IRB world rankings ahead of this weekend's internationals (position, country, rating points):1 New Zealand 92.91
2 Australia 86.37
3 South Africa 84.69
4 England 83.09
5 France 83.03
6 Wales 82.26
7 Ireland 79.85
8 Argentina 78.63
9 Scotland 77.97
10 Samoa 76.23
11 Italy 76.03
12 Tonga 74.79