Another narrow victory against 14-man opponents has led to Wales moving up one place in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings for the second consecutive week.
Up to seventh
Wales started Six Nations 2021 in ninth place in the rankings, just one spot off their all-time worst position. But a 21-16 home win against Ireland on the opening weekend followed by a thrilling 25-24 victory away to Scotland in Round Two, has lifted them up to seventh.
Louis Rees-Zammit was Wales’ two-try hero in a game where Scotland threw away a 17-8 half-time lead and lost Zander Fagerson to a second-half red card.
Scotland captain Stuart Hogg also bagged a brace but the day belonged to Wales and their new wing sensation.
Wales gained just over one-and-a-half points for winning the mini classic at Murrayfield, and with Scotland losing an identical amount in exchange, the two teams swap places in the rankings.
Like Wales, France won narrowly away from home to maintain their own Six Nations Grand Slam ambitions.
Les Bleus were good value for their 15-13 win at the Aviva Stadium – their first in Dublin in 10 years – but were nearly made to pay for missed opportunities.
Tries from captain Charles Ollivon and winger Damian Penaud put them in command before Ireland staged a late fightback. Ross Byrne converted Ronan Kelleher’s try and added a penalty as Ireland threw everything at France in the final quarter but the visitors’ defence held firm.
France within touching distance of England
The victory was worth 1.12 rating points to France, who remain in fourth place but are now within touching distance of England in third. Ireland concede fifth place to Australia as a result of the rare home defeat.
The only other match of the round saw England score six tries in a 41-18 victory over Italy at Twickenham.
With over 16 rating points and 11 places separating the teams, in third and 14th respectively, and the result going England’s way, neither team’s ranking was affected by the outcome.
World Rugby Rankings
(Previous position in brackets)
1(1) South Africa 94.20
2(3) New Zealand 88.95
3(2) England 87.49
4(4) France 85.30
5(5) Australia 83.08
6(6) Ireland 82.31
7(8) Wales 82.11
8(7) Scotland 81.29
9(8) Argentina 80.31
10(10) Japan 79.29
11 (11) Fiji 76.87
12 (12) Georgia 72.18
13 (13) Tonga 71.44
14 (14) Italy 70.88
15 (15) Samoa 70.72
16 (16) USA 68.10
17 (17) Spain 67.71
18 (18) Uruguay 67.02
19 (19) Romania 65.33
20 (20) Portugal 62.25
With thanks to World Rugby