World Rankings: England fall
SPOTLIGHT: England’s first defeat to Scotland at Twickenham since 1983 has cost them second place in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings, with the All Blacks now the closest team to South Africa.
Finishing 6-11 to the visitors, the match was very different from the 38-38 draw in the corresponding fixture two years ago with chances to score few and far between.
Eddie Jones’ side dropped two rating points after what was also their first-ever loss to Scotland on the opening weekend of the Six Nations, and they are now a fraction under one-and-a-half points behind the All Blacks in third.
The historic victory boosted Scotland’s points tally to 82.82, but that wasn’t quite enough for them to improve on their position of seventh prior to kick-off.
They are, however, now only a quarter of a point adrift of Australia in sixth, and will leapfrog the Wallabies if they beat Wales at Murrayfield this coming weekend.
The 1.23 rating points claimed by Wales for their 21-16 victory over 14-man Ireland sees them move above Argentina in the rankings and into eighth place.
Ireland remain in fifth place despite the setback, immediately below France, who won handsomely in Rome in the opening match of the Six Nations.
France were never in line to pick up any additional points because of the large points differential between themselves and Italy, which is a big factor in the way the rankings are calculated.
And France emphatically rubber-stamped their favourites tag with a seven-try, 50-10 win that supports their credentials as contenders for a first Six Nations title since 2010.
With no rating points lost, Italy remain in 14th place in the rankings.
Meanwhile, the Rugby Europe Championship 2020 finally concluded with home wins for champions Georgia and runners-up Spain.
Georgia completed the ‘Grand Slam’ against Russia but were made to work hard for their 16-7 victory over the Bears.
Again, due to the large points differential between the sides before kick-off, the result had no effect on the rankings, with Georgia and Russia still occupying 12th and 21st place respectively.
In Sunday’s other fixture, Spain secured second place behind Georgia for the second consecutive year after seeing off local rivals Portugal, 25-11.
Los Leones stay in 17th place in the rankings – three above Portugal, who are unmoved in 20th.