The biggest fallers in the World Rugby Women’s Rankings over the last seven days are WRWC 2017 hosts Ireland after two defeats to lower-ranked teams in Australia and Wales.
The Ireland Women, who with the losses missed out on a top seven finish and with it automatic qualification for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021, drop three places to ninth – their lowest position since the Women’s Rankings were introduced in February 2016.
The two losses have cost Ireland, as the home team, some 6.61 rating points and it would have been worse had they not scored late consolation tries in both the 36-24 loss to Australia and Saturday’s 27-17 defeat by Wales to avoid a losing margin of more than 15 points.
New Zealand fittingly remain the number one side in the Women’s Rankings following their thrilling 41-32 victory England in the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 final on Saturday.
Whoever was crowned world champions at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast would hold top spot and New Zealand’s fifth title means their cushion over England has increased from a little more than a rating point to 3.59 points.
The win was worth 2.14 points to the Black Ferns, while any gains the Red Roses had made with their semi-final success against France four days earlier was wiped out by the loss to New Zealand. England lost just under fourth tenths across the last seven days, but it would have been worse had Izzy Noel-Smith’s consolation try not brought the margin to below 15 points in the final.
Meanwhile, bronze medallists France remain third despite losing just over one rating point across the week, limiting the damage of the 20-3 loss to England in the semi-finals by beating USA 31-23 in the bronze final on Saturday.
Canada, though, have cut the deficit between the two nations to only 0.34 points after powering past Australia 43-12 in the fifth place play-off. Australia, Wales and Italy all rise a place as a consequence of Ireland’s fall and wins for the latter two.
Italy needed an extra-time try by captain Sara Barattin to beat Spain 20-15 in the 9th-10th place play-off, a result which in tandem with their 31-7 win over Japan in the previous round has lifted the Azzurre to eighth and seen them swap places with the side they beat. Tenth is the lowest Spain have ever been in the Women’s Rankings.
The final changes to the rankings come as a result of Italy’s triumph over Japan, the Sakura 15 falling two places to 16th as a result. Japan did finish with a first World Cup victory in 15 years over Hong Kong – but with more than 10 rating points separating the Asian rivals, the 44-5 win had no impact.
WORLD RUGBY RANKINGS (as of Monday, August 28):
Last week’s positions in brackets –
1(1) New Zealand 95.66 rating points
2(2) England 92.07
3(3) France 87.25
4(4) Canada 86.91
5(5) USA 79.41
6(7) Australia 78.68
7(9) Wales 75.65
8(10) Italy 73.92
9(6) IRELAND 73.03
10(8) Spain 72.13
11(11) Samoa 68.72
12(12) Scotland 68.59
13(13) South Africa 68.51
14(15) Netherlands 64.17
15(16) Portugal 64.00
16(14) Japan 62.99