Wales jump to sixth of place after their win over Ireland at the expense of South Africa who drop to seventh.
It’s England’s Championship but there is still the Grand Slam, a world record for consecutive wins and vital rating points to play for with one round of the Six Nations to go.
In the grand scheme of things rating points would ordinarily take a back seat to world record attempts and back-to-back Grand Slam bids, but for France and Wales the result of their match on Saturday, a couple of hours before England go for glory against Ireland in Dublin, will be of the utmost importance given the proximity of the Rugby World Cup 2019 pool draw.
Wales’ stirring 22-9 victory over Ireland has put them virtually one rating point behind Ireland (1.02) in the World Rugby Rankings, knowing that victory in Paris could potentially result in them moving into the world’s top four – and the first band of seeds for the RWC 2019 draw on 10 May – if Ireland lose points against England in Dublin.
For France, victory will guarantee them their place in the top eight and a place in the second bands of seeds. Les Bleus picked up 0.64 of a rating point for their 40-18 win over Italy in Rome to extend their points cushion over ninth-placed Argentina to 1.3 points.
Italy have now lost 10 in a row in Rome and a further loss of rating points has seen them slip one place in the rankings to 15th with Samoa the beneficiaries.
England’s record-equalling 18th straight win against Scotland, thanks to a man-of-the-match display from hat-trick hero Jonathan Joseph, did not come with any form of rankings reward as a consequence of the 8.84 rating point difference between the sides, before home weighting is taken into account. They remain in second place on 91.02 points – 3.76 behind the All Blacks, who were quick to congratulate England on their Six Nations title via head coach Steve Hansen.
Scotland did not lose any points despite coming out on the wrong side of a 61-21 scoreline, meaning they hang on to fifth place – but only just. Scotland are now on 82.18 points, just two hundredths above Wales, whose own win over Ireland has taken them above South Africa, who drop to seventh and their lowest position since the rankings were introduced in October 2003.