England replace South Africa in third place in the World Rugby Rankings after their first-ever win over Australia in Brisbane was combined with the Springboks’ loss to 14-man Ireland in Cape Town.
England’s 39-28 victory at the Suncorp Stadium on Saturday increased their rating points by 1.77 points to 86.37.
Unbeaten in seven games under Eddie Jones, England are now 0.71 of a point better off than South Africa and just over one point behind Australia, who they would have overtaken too, had they managed to put five more points on the Rugby World Cup 2015 runner-ups.
Unfortunately for Ireland, the heroic effort in Cape Town was not quite enough to lift them any higher than their current position of seventh in the rankings. However, Joe Schmidt’s side are just less than two tenths of a point behind Wales, whose total remains unchanged despite their 39-21 loss to the All Blacks, who also stay as they were at the top of the rankings.
Vereniki Goneva’s late match-winner against Tonga not only handed Fiji a winning start to their defence of the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup title, it also helped them back into the top 10 nations at Japan’s expense. Fiji’s victory came with a 0.17 of a point reward, enough to lift them above the Brave Blossoms, who only gained two hundredths of a point after hanging on for victory away to Canada.
Georgia’s first-ever test match in the Pacific Islands ended in a 19-19 draw against Samoa, and as a result there was no change to either nation’s ranking with the Lelos still 12th and Samoa 15th. Lasha Khmaladze could have won it for the Lelos but his late drop goal attempt was off target.
Meanwhile, Conor O’Shea’s first match in charge of Italy ended in a narrow 30-24 loss to Argentina in Sante Fe. Again, the result had no effect on either nation’s ranking position with Argentina unchanged in fifth and Italy 14th.
1 New Zealand
4 South Africa