World Rugby has announced details of the first-ever official global ranking system for women’s test rugby. Ireland, the defending Six Nations champions are ranked 4th behind World Champions England, France and New Zealand.
The rankings were introduced after a comprehensive process of obtaining and analysing every result from the first official women’s international matches dating back to 1987 and are based on the same criteria as the men’s rankings.
Supporters will not have to wait long for some big rankings clashes as Ireland face Wales, ranked 10th, on Saturday afternoon in Donnybrook – tickets are on sale now from ticketmaster.ie – click here.
The new system, which comes into effect from 1 February 2016, will be a weighted system with the number of points available to the winning team proportional to the difference in ranking points between the teams prior to the match.
Introduction of the women’s rankings furthers anticipation ahead of an exciting 18 months of test rugby that will culminate in the much-anticipated Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 in Ireland.
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “World Rugby is committed to driving forward the competitiveness of the women’s game and the new rankings are yet another significant milestone.
“After the success of Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2014 and the excitement building up to the next edition in 2017 in Ireland, it’s vital for international teams to have a rankings focus that will drive exposure and interest as well as increasing the competition schedule, as it encourages member unions to play more test matches.
“It’s a positive step for one of the fastest growing team sports in the world, as it brings parity with the men’s game. Today’s announcement also comes as a timely boost ahead of what will be an exciting Women’s Six Nations Championship.”