World rankings: France go top for the first time ever as New Zealand and South Africa drop

Colin Newboult

France have moved to the top of the men’s world rankings for the first time in their history following defeats for New Zealand and South Africa.

Both the Springboks, who went into the weekend in the number one spot, and the All Blacks succumbed to their northern hemisphere opponents on Saturday.

With France doing just enough against Japan to claim victory, overcoming the Brave Blossoms 20-15 in Tokyo, New Zealand and South Africa had to win to stay ahead of Les Bleus in the rankings.

However, the All Blacks went down to Ireland 23-12 while the Boks succumbed 13-12 to Wales, with a late converted Josh Adams try proving decisive in Bloemfontein.

Les Bleus are ahead of Ireland with Andy Farrell’s men moving up to second position, although they would have resided at the summit had it not been for Will Jordan’s late consolation score.

Record low for New Zealand

Those two northern hemisphere teams are followed by the Springboks and then New Zealand, who have dropped down to their lowest ever placing.

England and Scotland are also moving up after their victories over Australia and Argentina, while Georgia overtake Italy in the rankings.

Los Lelos are now ranked 12th following their 28-19 triumph over the Azzurri on Sunday, with Kieran Crowley’s men 14th.

World rankings week beginning July 11, 2022

1 (3) France 89.41
2 (4) Ireland 88.79
3 (1) South Africa 88.61
4 (2) New Zealand 88.17
5 (6) England 85.14
6 (5) Australia 83.28
7 (8) Scotland 82.99
8 (9) Wales 81.28
9 (7) Argentina 79.39
10 (10) Japan 77.74
11 (11) Fiji 76.62
12 (13) Georgia 74.51
13 (14) Samoa 74.21
14 (12) Italy 73.29
15 (15) Spain 69.27

READ MORE: Ireland make history with first win over All Blacks in New Zealand