Ireland, Scotland and Uruguay are the main beneficiaries from a World Rugby Rankings perspective after another enthralling weekend of international rugby.
Ireland have replaced Australia in third place in the World Rugby Rankings after their 50-22 win over Japan in Shizuoka and the Wallabies’ 24-19 loss at home to Scotland.
Joe Schmidt’s side added seven tries to the nine they managed against the USA the week before in Philadelphia as they registered another convincing victory in the second match of their three-game tour of North America and Japan.
With 11 regulars missing on British and Irish Lions duty, an exciting crop of young players turned on the style to produce a result that was worth 0.43 of a rating point.
While Ireland increase their rating to 85.09 points, Australia’s is down by 1.72 points to 84.63, putting them just over seven tenths above Scotland, who are on 83.90.
Scotland needed a victory margin of more than 15 points to break into the world’s top four for the first time since the rankings were introduced in October 2003. However, with three of the last five fixtures between the nations settled by a single point, most famously at Twickenham in the quarter-final of RWC 2015, such an outcome was always going to be unlikely.
While the top four still alludes them, Scotland did enough to move above South Africa into fifth place, because the Springboks only gained 0.76 of a point for beating France 37-15 – a scoreline remarkably matched a day later by their U20 side against Les Bleuets at the World Rugby U20 Championship – to take their tally to 83.63 points.
Wales only enjoyed a marginal gain for a scrappy 24-6 win over Tonga in Auckland on Friday to stay seventh, while France and Argentina are unchanged in eighth and ninth respectively following consecutive losses to the Springboks and England.
After completing a 2-0 series whitewash of Argentina with a 35-25 victory over Los Pumas in Sante Fe, England have cut the gap to number one ranked New Zealand by 0.61 of a point over the past fortnight. The All Blacks did not pick up any rating points for their 78-0 win over Samoa so they now have a 4.64-point cushion over Eddie Jones’ side.
Fijian RWC 2015 fly-half Ben Volavola kicked a last-gasp, match-winning drop goal to break Italian hearts in Suva, his strike worth 0.17 of a point in the rankings to the Pacific side. With a healthy 2.55-point buffer over nearest rivals Japan, Fiji’s place in the world’s top 10 looks safe for now. Italy stay 15th despite the 22-19 defeat.
Georgia are now homing in on Japan in 11th place after making it two wins from two on their tour of the Americas. Milton Haig’s side, who conclude their June tour against Argentina on Saturday, pick up 0.69 of a rating point as a result of the victory.
The only significant movers from a tier two perspective were Uruguay, who claimed their first-ever World Rugby Nations Cup title with a 24-14 win over Spain in Montevideo on Sunday.
With a gain of one and two-thirds of a point for that victory and a 32-29 win over Russia earlier in the week, Los Teros move on to 63.15 points to climb three places to 18th, above Spain, Russia and Namibia.
Spain and Russia are only separated by one-thousandth of a point in 19th and 20th after the Bears bounced back from their slender loss to champions Uruguay to beat Namibia 31-10 in the only other Nations Cup tie to affect the rankings.
Previous position in brackets
1(1) New Zealand 94.78
2(2) England 90.14
3(4) Ireland 85.09
4(3) Australia 84.63
5(6) Scotland 83.90
6(5) South Africa 83.63
7(8) Wales 81.45
8(6) France 80.16
9(9) Argentina 79.31
10(10) Fiji 76.63
11(11) Japan 73.61
12(12) Georgia 72.92
13(13) Tonga 71.85
14(14) Samoa 71.25
15(15) Italy 71.00
16(16) Romania 70.27
17(17) USA 66.10
18(21) Uruguay 63.15
19(18) Spain 63.15
20(19) Russia 63.13
With thanks to World Rugby