Defeats for England and Australia have seen Ireland equal their highest ever position of third in the latest IRB World Rankings, a position the men in green have not occupied since November 2006.
Ireland did not improve their rating points by beating 15th-ranked Georgia 49-7 at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday, but the points lost by England and Australia as a result of defeats by South Africa and France respectively led to the changes.
Joe Schmidt’s men now have a cushion of 0.62 points over Australia, who avoided a two-place fall to fifth by the smallest of margins after a 29-26 loss to France in Paris with the Wallabies sitting just one hundredth of a point above England now.
South Africa’s 31-28 win at Twickenham has strengthened their position of second place – some five points clear of Ireland – and closed the gap to New Zealand by nearly one point, although the All Blacks still sit 3.77 points clear at the top.
New Zealand did not improve their rating points on the back of a 24-16 victory over eighth-ranked Scotland at Murrayfield on a weekend which saw the current World Cup holders celebrate five years as the number one side in the rankings.
While England have fallen two places to fifth on the back of losses to South Africa and New Zealand this month and lost their mantle as the leading northern Hemisphere nation to Ireland, they still sit 2.74 rating points above France.
Wales improved their rating slightly in seventh with the narrow 17-13 triumph over their 2015 Rugby World Cup pool opponents Fiji, a result which – in tandem with Tonga’s 40-12 success against the USA in Gloucester – sees the two Pacific Island nations swap places with the Ikale Tahi now 12th.
Argentina have climbed one place to ninth on the back of their 20-18 victory over Italy in Genoa on Friday. The Pumas gained more points for that result and therefore climbed above Japan, who ran out 18-13 winners over 18th-ranked Romania in Bucharest.
IRB WORLD RANKINGS (as of Monday, November 17):
Last week’s positions in brackets –
1(1) New Zealand 93.70 rating points
2(2) South Africa 89.93
3(5) IRELAND 84.84
4(3) Australia 84.22
5(4) England 84.21
6(6) France 81.47
7(7) Wales 79.94
8(8) Scotland 78.27
9(10) Argentina 76.42
10(9) Japan 76.07
11(11) Samoa 75.39
12(13) Tonga 74.62
13(12) Fiji 74.18
14(14) Italy 71.19
15(15) Georgia 69.40
16(16) USA 67.99
17(17) Canada 67.64
18(18) Romania 66.57
19(20) Russia 64.12
20(19) Uruguay 63.58