Ireland could become the best ranked team in the world if they win their next three Tests against the USA, England and Scotland.

Joe Schmidt's men could actually overtake New Zealand next week if they beat the Eagles at the Aviva Stadium and the All Blacks lose in Italy but that is an unlikely scenario.

If, as expected, both sides deal with the underdogs it will be as you were: New Zealand No 1, Ireland No 2. 

Since the Kiwis would not play another match until the build-up to next year's Rugby World Cup the Irish could  leap to the top spot with two opening wins in the Six Nations. 

Ireland moved to 91.17 points after their weekend win - their highest ever total - just behind their rivals on 92.54. 

Steve Hansen was quick to label Ireland World Cup favourites after watching them turn over his side in Dublin on Saturday night thanks to a superb performance. 

"They have become a team that believes in themselves and prides themselves on what they do," the head coach said. 

"But it's their turn [as the world's best] at the moment so we'll see how they cope with that."

They are not quite the world's best yet, but they are close.

Heavy indeed is the head that wears the crown and there's no doubt both England and Scots would love the chance to halt the green juggernaut but such is the positivity around the Ireland camp right now that no opponent is greatly feared.