England eye Boks’ spot
England eye Boks’ spotSHARE
England closed in on the Springboks on the IRB World Rankings after their 20-13 win over Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.
In reclaiming the Cook Cup, the home side consolidated third place and boosted their rating by more than half a ranking point to narrow the gap between them and second-placed South Africa.
The result leaves the Wallabies just over two ranking points ahead of France, and with all the top sides in action in the coming weeks, Australia’s remaining four November internationals will be crucial.
England face 10th-ranked Argentina this coming weekend, but the big Test in ranking terms will come the following Saturday against New Zealand, who have occupied the number one spot for almost four years.
The All Blacks’ 54-6 victory over 2019 World Cup hosts Japan at the weekend had no bearing on their rating, a consequence of the 14 places and more than 21 points separating the two teams. However, successive fixtures against France and then England could be significant in ranking terms.
While there were no positional changes as a result of these two internationals, there were plenty further down the rankings.
Poland proved poor travellers in suffering defeats against lower-ranked opposition in the Serendib International Cup in Sri Lanka. Poland had begun the week ranked 28th but lost 21-25 to Madagascar, then 25-26 to the host nation to drop four places to 32nd.
Madagascar are rewarded for their efforts with a two-place rise to a new high of 37, while Sri Lanka claw back some lost ground after their loss the previous week to the African side and finish the weekend up two places to 40th.
In the European Nations Cup, Ukraine bounced back from defeat by Germany by seeing off Division 1B rivals Sweden 35-11 to rise one place to 35th. The match, which also formed part of the qualifying process for the 2015 World Cup, saw the Swedes drop from 38th to 41st.
Meanwhile in Division 2A, Malta’s 13-10 win over Lithuania took them four places up the ladder to 45th, but the defeat on home soil was costly for the Lithuanians, who tumble six places to 52nd. Switzerland rise two places to 39th courtesy of a 26-11 win over Croatia in the weekend's other Division 2A match, a result which sees the Croatians fall three places to 55th.
Israel were another side to bounce back – having seen the Netherlands end their involvement in the 2015 World Cup qualifying process a week earlier – and return to the top 50 after edging past Denmark 15-13 to climb four places to 49th. The defeat means the Danes drop two places to 67th.
Tunisia were also in Europe to play a one-off match against the higher ranked Belgium. They lost 10-26 but the result had no bearing on the rating of either side and they remain 25th and 43rd respectively.
Canada were also in action on Sunday, but their 15-40 loss to the Maori All Blacks in Toronto does not count towards the rankings. The Canucks now travel to Europe to tackle Georgia, Romania and Portugal.
IRB World Rankings – Top 20:
(Last week's position in brackets)
1(1) New Zealand 93.05
2(2) South Africa 87.86
3(3) England 86.31
4(4) Australia 83.70
5(5) France 81.59
6(6) Wales 81.36
7(7) Samoa 80.42
8(8) Ireland 79.58
9(9) Scotland 76.95
10(10) Argentina 75.50
11(11) Tonga 74.77
12(12) Italy 74.17
13(13) Fiji 73.56
14(14) Canada 72.68
15(15) Japan 71.98
16(16) Georgia 67.66
17(17) Romania 66.18
18(18) USA 64.91
19(19) Russia 61.99
20(20) Spain 60.44