Cape Town - Ireland are now the second best team in the world according to the World
Rugby rankings with newly-crowned Rugby Championship champions
Australia moving up to third.
According to the World Rugby website, Ireland have moved up to second place in the World Rugby rankings for the first time since they were introduced in 2003.
Saturday’s 35-21 win over Wales at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff
earned them 1.13 ratings points, putting them a fraction ahead of
Australia who jumped two places to third on the back of their Bledisloe
Cup triumph against the All Blacks.
The Nic White-inspired Wallabies gained 1.61 points to move on to
86.84 points, 0.05 behind the Irish and 1.44 in front of England, the
only top six side not in action at the weekend, who remain fourth.
For New Zealand it was their first defeat since they lost to South
Africa a year ago and a disappointing way to mark Richie McCaw’s
record-equalling 141st test appearance. It also saw their lead at the
top of the rankings cut to 5.83 points.
Meanwhile, hat-trick hero Juan Imhoff helped Argentina to an historic
37-25 win over South Africa in Kings Park, Durban and a gain of two
full rankings points. Los Pumas are now within touching instance of
France in seventh place, the gap between the two nations now down to
0.57 of a point.
With a drop of three places from second to fifth, South Africa were
the weekend’s biggest losers from a rankings perspective. Three
consecutive Rugby Championship defeats have seen their rankings points
total reduced to 84.37 points - 1.43 more than sixth-placed Wales.
World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup 2015 champions Fiji are now ranked
ninth following Monday’s 39-29 title-deciding win against Samoa,
while Tonga move up into the top 10 as a result of their victory over
Japan in the third-place playoff with Samoa falling to 11th.
Any gains Japan enjoyed this time last year, when a record 10-game
winning streak briefly moved them into the top 10, have largely been
undone over the course of the last 12 months, as the Brave Blossoms now
find themselves in 15th place in the rankings.
Japan are now just over two rankings points ahead of RWC 2015 Pool B
opponents USA, whose second straight win over North American rivals
Canada in Monday’s fifth-place shootout earned them 1.06 points.
Canada remain in 18th with a 2.44 points cushion over Uruguay with
Namibia making up the top 20 after overhauling Spain thanks to
Saturday’s 46-13 Africa Cup Division 1A victory against Kenya.
Darryl de La Harpe crossed for two of Namibia’s tries with their
other five-pointers coming via Chrysander Botha, David Philander,
Renaldo Bothma and a penalty try.
“We have three wins on the trot now and that is very important for
our confidence leading up to the Rugby World Cup. We are working very
hard, finding our feet and I am happy with our progress,” said
Welwitschias skipper Jacques Burger.
Top 10 in the World Rugby rankings:
1. New Zealand - 92.72
2. Ireland - 86.89
3. Australia - 86.84
4. England - 85.40
5. South Africa - 84.37
6. Wales - 82.94
7. France - 79.74
8. Argentina - 79.17
9. Fiji - 77.04
10. Tonga - 75.25