WORLD RANKINGS: England rise, Wales fall
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: There is a change in the top three in World Rugby’s Rankings after the first round of Six Nations 2019.
Ireland hang onto second place in the World Rugby Rankings and England move up to third.
John Cooney’s late try may not have had any bearing on the outcome of the titanic tussle between Ireland and England at the Aviva Stadium, nor did it rescue a losing bonus point for the hosts, but it did prevent them relinquishing second place in the World Rugby Rankings to their victors.
Leading 32-13 with barely a minute to go, England were on course to leapfrog 2018’s World Rugby Team of the Year but Cooney’s consolation effort reduced the margin between the teams sufficiently for Ireland to hold onto their status as New Zealand’s nearest rivals in the rankings.
However, the defeat, Ireland’s first at home in the Six Nations for six years, cost them 1.8 rating points, and with England getting an identical amount in return the gap between the two teams is down to just 1.36 points. The All Blacks’ lead at the top has increased to 3.17 points.
England’s four tries to two victory sees them move above Wales – despite a record-breaking comeback from the men in red in Paris – and into third place.
Wales started the weekend 1.02 points and one place ahead of England in the rankings but with only three-tenths of a point on offer for their victory over the lower-ranked French, and England profiting to the tune of 1.8 points, they have now slipped below Eddie Jones’ men.
France, who surrendered a 16-0 half-time lead in losing 19-24, an unprecedented turn of events in Six Nations history, are also down one place to 10th, their joint lowest ranking since they were introduced in October 2003, with Argentina the beneficiaries.
George North’s and Henry Slade’s try doubles were eclipsed by Scotland winger Blair Kinghorn, who became the first player to score a Six Nations hat-trick since Chris Ashton bagged four tries for England against Italy in 2011.