World Cup already affecting world rankings
NEWS: World Cup 2023 got off to a pulsating start this weekend with several changes to the top 20 in the world rankings.
England, Australia and Wales all climb two places, while Georgia have gone the other way to the benefit of both Samoa and Italy.
Ireland stay top – but only just – after South Africa fell one point short of the margin of victory needed to replace them there.
A record 82-8 win over Romania safeguarded Ireland’s rating of 91.82 points but that would have been bettered by South Africa had they managed to beat Scotland by more than 15 points.
Instead, the Springboks were just thankful to get through a hard-fought encounter with an 18-3 win, which leaves them just 0.15 points adrift of Ireland in the rankings.
France and New Zealand stay in third and fourth place after Les Bleus came out on top when the sides met in the opening fixture in Paris on Friday.
With World Cup fixtures carrying double the points, the host nation’s 27-13 win boosted their rating to 90.59, while New Zealand’s fell to 87.69.
The All Blacks still have a sizeable 4.26-point cushion over fifth-place Scotland, who have England breathing down their necks.
England picked up 3.27 points for their remarkable 27-10 win against Argentina in Marseille, which takes them up to sixth place on 83.22 points overall. The gap between themselves and Scotland is now just 0.21 points.
Los Pumas, who lost despite playing against 14 men for all but two minutes of the contest following Tom Curry’s early red card, have fallen four places to 10th – their lowest position in almost three years.
Australia are immediately below England in seventh after they also gained two places for their 35-15 win against Georgia, while Wales’ reward for holding off Fiji in a thrilling finale to the weekend is a climb of two places to eighth.
Wales won 32-26 but had Semi Radradra not dropped the final pass of the match with the line at his mercy then it could have been a very different story.
With Georgia dropping two places to 13th, Samoa and Italy, who beat Namibia 52-8, each move up a place, to 11th and 12th.
Japan’s 42-12 win over World Cup debutants Chile made no difference to the rating of either team due to the 12.81-point differential between them.