France overtake England, close in on All Blacks
WORLD RANKINGS UPDATE: The third round of the Six Nations resulted in some changes to the top 10 World Rugby pecking order.
France and Wales both improved their positions.
France kept their Grand Slam ambitions on track thanks to a first Six Nations win over Scotland at Murrayfield since 2014 and have also moved above England in the rankings to third.
France’s third consecutive victory of the campaign boosted their rating by 1.84 points to 87.84 – nearly a point more than England who only received a fraction over a quarter of a point for beating Wales 23-19 at Twickenham.
Now France has New Zealand in their sights with the All Blacks just 0.91 of a point ahead of them in second place in the rankings.
After Paul Willemse opened the scoring in the eighth minute, the rest of France’s six tries went to the backs.
Yoram Moefana crossed for France’s second on 13 minutes before Gael Fickou went over on the stroke of half-time.
The bonus-point try came shortly after the break, through fit-again centre Jonathan Danty, and then it was left to Damian Penaud to supply the gloss on the win with two tries in the final quarter. Penaud is now joint-top with countryman Gabin Villière in the Six Nations 2022 try-scoring charts.
For Scotland, flank Rory Darge capped a fine first start for his country with a first-half try and the equally impressive Duhan van der Merwe got a late consolation.
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Smith delivers for England … again
England had another player-of-the-match contribution from Marcus Smith to thank for their second win of the Six Nations 2022.
Smith kicked six penalties in a 23-19 win over a Wales side that outscored their hosts two tries to one and is now out in front as the Six Nations 2022 top points-scorer with 48 points for the competition.
Alex Dombrandt was the only England player to cross the whitewash in a scrappy game, while a strong second-half comeback brought tries for Wales through Josh Adams, Nick Tompkins and Kieran Hardy.
Despite the defeat, Wales find themselves higher up the rankings in seventh after swapping places with Scotland who drop to eighth.
Scotland suffered a bigger points deduction than Wales, which has resulted in their rating falling to 81.75. Wales are now on 81.99 points.
Ireland remains in fifth place in the rankings as their 57-6 win over Italy in Dublin did not earn them any additional rating points.
Michael Lowry and James Lowe bagged a brace of tries apiece, while Joey Carbery, Jamison Gibson-Park, captain Peter O’Mahony, Ryan Baird and Kieran Treadwell also got their names on the scoresheet against 13-man Italy.
In the Rugby Europe Championship 2022, Spain now finds themselves at an all-time high of 15th after a 38-21 bonus-point victory over Romania saw the teams trade places with the Oaks dropping to 17th.
Neither sides’ ranking was affected by the result in Amsterdam as Portugal beat the Netherlands, 59-3.