As well as making history with their first series win in Australia since 1979, Ireland ended their international season with another notable achievement as they passed the 90-point in the World Rugby Rankings for the first time.
Joe Schmidt’s men strengthened their grip on second place in the World Rankings with a 20-16 series-clinching victory over the Wallabies in Sydney. They picked up 0.92 of a point, pushing past the 90-point mark (90.12) for the first time in the 15-year history of the rankings,
They began the 2017/18 campaign in fourth place on 85.39 rating points, and 10 wins in 11 Tests, including the Grand Slam success and memorable triumphs in Paris, London, Melbourne and Sydney, saw them hit a rankings high of second for the first time since August 2015.
Meanwhile, after avoiding a 3-0 series whitewash at the hands of South Africa with a 25-10 victory over the Springboks at Newlands, England have moved back up to fourth place.
As a result of the defeat, South Africa slip one place to sixth with the Wallabies sandwiched between the two teams in fifth following their four-point defeat to Ireland at Allianz Stadium. Like Owen Farrell, Jonathan Sexton contributed most of his side’s points, kicking five penalties as he became only the second player after Ronan O’Gara to score over 700 points for Ireland.
Rankings leaders New Zealand gained no reward for their third straight win over France (49-14). On a day when out-halves caught the eye, Damian McKenzie celebrated his first start at number 10 for the All Blacks by converting both of his tries and five others for a 24-point haul.
Scotland made up some of the ground they lost following last week’s shock one-point loss to the USA with a convincing 44-15 success against Argentina in Resistencia. The 1.19 rating points awarded to the Scots were not enough to take them any higher than their current standing of sixth though, while los Pumas, who visit the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, November 10, remain in 10th place.
Tonga’s superb 27-19 victory over Fiji in Suva combined with Georgia’s 28-0 loss to Japan has moved the Ikale Tahi up to 12th place at the Lelos’ expense. It is Tonga’s highest position since March 2016.
The USA continued their long unbeaten run against Canada with a 42-17 triumph in front of a sold-out crowd at the Wanderers grounds in Halifax. With only a quarter of a point on offer for their seventh consecutive Test win, the Eagles stay in 15th place in the rankings. Canada are also unmoved in 22nd.
WORLD RUGBY RANKINGS (as of Monday, June 25):
Last week’s positions in brackets –
1(1) New Zealand 93.99 rating points
2(2) IRELAND 90.12
3(3) Wales 85.94
4(6) England 85.68
5(4) Australia 84.48
6(5) South Africa 83.32
7(7) Scotland 83.02
8(8) France 79.10
9(9) Fiji 76.54
10(10) Argentina 75.55
11(11) Japan 75.24
12(14) Tonga 73.84
13(12) Georgia 73.13
14(13) Italy 72.56
15(15) USA 71.66