World Rankings: France and England climb
NEWS: France have overtaken Ireland in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings as a result of their 30-24 win at a raucous Stade de France on Saturday.
Les Bleus moved up a place to fourth and Ireland dropped two places to fifth after a game that lived up to all the pre-match hype.
France are the only team with two wins from the opening two rounds and remain on course for a first Six Nations title and also a Grand Slam since 2010.
Further improvement in the rankings is possible over the coming weeks as England are only a third of a rating point better off than them in third while New Zealand hold an advantage of 2.29 points in second.
With two away games against Scotland and Wales coming up and a home date with England to finish off the Championship, France will have opportunities to make up further ground.
France were last ranked second in the world in October 2007 when they hosted World Cup 2007, and to get there again before they host their next tournament in 2023 would be another sign of their progress under head coach Fabien Galthié.
Before the fireworks in Paris, Wales bounced back from their round one loss to Ireland with a morale-boosting 20-17 win against Scotland in the opening fixture of the second round of Six Nations 2022.
Fresh from their opening day win over England, Scotland headed to Cardiff in a buoyant mood and looking to register back-to-back victories at the start of a Championship for the first time.
Scotland had not won in Cardiff since 2002, though, and history was against them again as Wales captain Dan Biggar kicked his side to a 20-17 win.
Wales remain eighth in the rankings but are only a point adrift of Scotland who drop below Australia and into seventh.
England comfortably got the job done in Rome as Italy’s losing streak in the Six Nations continued.
Marcus Smith scored the first of England’s five tries in a 33-0 win and was also named Player of the Match.
Neither team’s rating was affected by the outcome but England profited from Ireland’s defeat and the loss of 0.83 of a point by replacing them in third.