Ireland drop to sixth in Rugby World Rankings

Six Nations championship winners Ireland haved dropped from a high of second
place last month to sixth overall after successive losses to Wales and England.

The results on the Rugby World Cup warm ups have had a big impact on the standings
of teams around the world.

Rugby Championship heavyweights New Zealand, Australia and South Africa will
go into RWC 2015 as the top three nations in the World Rugby Rankings.

Long-time leaders New Zealand remain untouchable – for a fortnight at least
– on 92.89 points, with Australia 6.22 points behind in second and South Africa
a further 1.52 points back in third. Australia were unable to make up any ground
on their cross-Tasman rivals despite being the only side of the three in action
over the weekend, as their 47-10 win over the USA in Chicago did not come with
any ratings points given the double-figure difference in rankings positions
and rating points between the nations.

South Africa moved up to third without even kicking a ball thanks to Ireland’s
21-13 defeat at the hands of England at Twickenham. Ireland’s rating fell by
0.79 points and resulted in a three-place drop to sixth, placing them below
the Springboks, England, who gained the same points to leapfrog their Pool A
opponents Wales into fourth.

Serious-looking injuries to star full-back Leigh Halfpenny and scrum-half Rhys
Webb made it a day to forget for Wales who scraped home 23-19 against Italy
at the Millennium Stadium.

France winger Noa Nakaitaci struck late to deny Scotland a first win in Paris
since 1999 and any chance they had of moving up the rankings. Instead both sides
remain where they are, in seventh and 10th respectively, with Les Bleus’
19-16 win at the Stade de France bringing about only a fractional change to
either sides’ points total.

Ninth-ranked Fiji sent out a warning to England ahead of their RWC 2015 opening
match against the host nation with an impressive 47-18 win against a Canadian
team nine places below them in the rankings. Again, neither side’s position
in the rankings was affected but Canada finished the week 1.89 points better
off than they started it after Wednesday’s 16-15 win against higher-ranked Georgia
was taken into consideration.

On what was a truly competitive weekend of rugby, the match between Japan and
Georgia at Kingsholm Stadium in Gloucester was also settled by a single score.
The Brave Blossoms eged an entertaining game 13-10 thanks to a try three minutes
from time and were rewarded with a gain of 0.91 of a point, which lifted them
up one place to 13th, the spot previoously ooccupied by Georgia.

Two losses in the space of four days have cost Georgia dearly, a deduction
of 2.8 points seeing them slip to 16th in the world. Italy and USA are the other
beneficiaries with one place rises to 14th and 15th respectively.

Tonga, one of Georgia’s opponents in Pool C at RWC 2015, were victorious in
their final warm-up match, beating their hosts Romania 21-16 in Bucharest. The
‘Ikale Tahi now sit just over two tenths behind Scotland in 11th with Romania
remaining 17th.

Elsewhere, Samoa signed off their Rugby World Cup preparations with a hard-fought
25-19 win against English club side Wasps at the Ricoh Arena, Argentina got
the better of Leicester Tigers in a 13-try bonanza at Welford Road to win Marcos
Ayerza’s testimonial match 55-34 and Uruguay defeated a Basque Selection XV
41-19. None of those matches had any impact the rankings as they involved a
club or representative side.

Rugby World Cup standings

1 , (1) , New Zealand ,92.89
2 , (2) , Australia , AUS , 86.67
3 , (4) , South Africa , RSA , 85.15
4 , (6) , England , ENG , 85.04
5 , (5) , Wales , WAL , 84.63
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