Wales have improved their World Rugby Ranking by one place and moved up to sixth, following their 34-7 bonus-point win over Scotland in the opening game of this year’s NatWest 6 Nations in Cardiff on Saturday.
The bonus-point victory – their first since the competition adopted the bonus points system last year – was worth 1.35 rating points, improving Wales’ overall points tally to 83.43, just under four tenths less than South Africa, who take Scotland’s place in fifth.
Scotland drop to seventh after the defeat.
Having waited five years for a test try, two came at once for full-back Leigh Halfpenny, who also kicked flawlessly to take his contribution in the match to 24 points. Gareth Davies and Stef Evans, with a spectacular finish (main picture), scored the other tries.
Johnny Sexton’s last-gasp drop goal in Paris not only kept Ireland’s Grand Slam dream alive but also saw them pick up just under half a rating point to boost their tally to 86.86.
The gap between themselves in third and second-placed England is now down to a fraction over four points. England did not gain anything from a rankings perspective for their clinical 46-15 win over Italy in Rome, due to the 19.62-point differential between the sides before kick-off.
In turn, France’s agonising 15-13 home loss to Ireland has seen them fall to their lowest-ever position of 10th since the rankings were introduced in October 2003. Fiji replace them in ninth to equal their highest-ever ranking.
While Uruguay’s thrilling 32-31 win over Canada in Montevideo was massive in terms of securing qualification for Rugby World Cup 2019 as Americas 2, the result only improved their rating by eight-hundredths.
Los Teros stay 18th with Canada three places further back in 21st.
Brazil, however, enjoyed big gains thanks to their 16-14 win over Chile in the first round of the Americas Rugby Championship – their first on Chilean soil. The victory was worth 1.56 points and lifts them up to an all-time high of 25th, above Chile, Germany and the Netherlands. Portugal also profited, despite not playing, by moving up to 24th as a result of Chile's two-place fall to 26th.
In the weekend’s only other international to affect the rankings, Switzerland defeated the Ivory Coast 30-27 in Chens-sur-Léman.
Switzerland organised the game as part of their preparations for their Rugby Europe Trophy campaign, which begins away to defending champions Portugal on 24 February, and their African opponents gave them a severe test.
Indeed, the lower-ranked Elephants could have snatched victory at the death, but they were held up over the line in the last play of the game.
The quarter of a point on offer to Switzerland was enough to move them above Korea into 31st place and condemn Ivory Coast to a one-place fall to 51st with Latvia the beneficiaries.