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Fourth-Placed Ireland Improve World Ranking Points

Fourth-Placed Ireland Improve World Ranking Points

Wales, Tonga and Switzerland, all wearing red, were the only nations to climb the World Rugby Rankings on the back of their own on-field achievements over the weekend.

Fourth-ranked Ireland boosted their tally by more than a point following their 27-24 win over Australia at the Aviva Stadium. They are now just over two points behind the Wallabies and have every chance of catching them, if they enjoy a successful Six Nations, before the Rugby World Cup 2019 Pool Draw takes place on Wednesday, May 10.

Completing a hat-trick of victories against the southern Hemisphere’s ‘big three’ was a fine way for Ireland captain Rory Best to mark his 100th Test. Their tries came from Iain Henderson, Garry Ringrose and, crucially, Keith Earls. Paddy Jackson kicked 12 points against a Wallabies side that scored 21 of their points in a 17-minute spell either side of half-time.

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The efforts of Joe Schmidt’s men in beating New Zealand for the first time in Irish Rugby history and winning two of their three GUINNESS Series games have seen them climb from sixth place to fourth in the World Rankings this month. They have improved their rating points from 81.67 to 84.62.

Wales’ 27-13 success against South Africa, their third win in this November series, sees them replace the Springboks in fifth place in the rankings, while Tonga are up to 14th, after winning away in Italy, and Switzerland jump up two places to 33rd after a comeback victory over Moldova.

Unlike Wales’ two previous Cardiff triumphs against Argentina and Japan, the game against South Africa was one that was never really in doubt, although they had to wait until the second half to score their only tries through hooker Ken Owens and Justin Tipuric. Leigh Halfpenny converted Tipuric’s try to add to five earlier penalties.

It was only the third time that Wales had beaten South Africa and the victory was worth 0.78 rating points, taking them on to 82.55 points – just over two behind fourth-placed Ireland. The loss means the Springboks equal their lowest ever position of sixth since the rankings began in October 2003.

New Zealand and England, the top two sides in the rankings, were not able to improve their points total as expected victories over France and Argentina came with no reward due to difference in rating points between the nations.

Neither win was a formality though, anything but. France produced a grandstand finish to close to within five points of the All Blacks, before running out of time and losing 24-19, while England played the majority of their game against los Pumas with 14 men after Elliot Daly became only the fifth Englishman, and the first back, to be sent off in an international. Eddie Jones’ side coped well with the loss of the winger to beat the travel-weary Pumas 27-14 and extend their winning run to 13 matches. 

Scotland saved their best until last in this November series with a six-try 43-16 success against Georgia at Rugby Park, the home of Kilmarnock Football Club. Stuart Hogg bagged a brace as seventh-ranked Scotland earned one-tenth of a rating point, which takes them on to 80.67 points – just over one behind South Africa, who are in danger of dropping out of the world’s top eight if the sides in and around them in the rankings have a good Six Nations campaign.

Levani Botia scored twice as Fiji beat Japan 38-25 to end their European tour with a win in the French town of Vannes, thus preventing the Asian champions taking 10th place from them in the rankings. Fiji now have a two-point buffer between themselves and the Brave Blossoms, after a 0.97 of a point gain, but are still more than three points adrift of Argentina, in ninth.

WORLD RUGBY RANKINGS (as of Monday, November 28):

Last week’s positions in brackets –

1(1) New Zealand 94.78 rating points
2(2) England 89.84
3(3) Australia 86.97
4(4) IRELAND 84.62
5(6) Wales 82.55
6(5) South Africa 81.79
7(7) Scotland 80.67
8(8) France 80.13
9(9) Argentina 79.91
10(10) Fiji 76.46