Wales return to second as Japan reach new high

Wales have climbed to second place in the World Rugby Men's Rankings after beating Australia, while Ireland's conquerors Japan now sit in their highest ever position of eighth.

TOKYO, 30 Sep - Wales have returned to second place in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings after beating Australia 29-25 in an enthralling Pool D match at Tokyo Stadium on Sunday.

Captain Alun Wyn Jones became his country’s most-capped player as he made his 130th test appearance in the Welsh red in a victory that lifts the Six Nations champions two places.

They swap places with Ireland, who drop to fourth after being stunned 19-12 by Rugby World Cup 2019 hosts Japan in Shizuoka on Saturday.

That victory lifted Japan not only to the top of Pool A but also one place to eighth – their highest position since the rankings were introduced in October 2003 – at Scotland’s expense.

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Meanwhile, Georgia have equalled their best of 11th after a combination of their 33-7 defeat of Uruguay and Fiji’s surprise loss to the same opponents.

With points exchanges doubled during Rugby World Cups to reflect the importance of the tournament, Fiji’s defeat to a team that were nine places below them before kick-off has resulted in a two-place drop to 12th.

Uruguay climbed two places on the back of that win – only their third in RWC history and first for 16 years – but slipped back one to 18th after losing to Georgia.

The only other positional change saw Samoa climb above their fellow Pacific Islanders Tonga after they beat Russia 34-9 and the ‘Ikale Tahi lost 28-12 to Argentina.

The four other RWC 2019 matches over the last seven days – Wales’ 43-14 win over Georgia, England’s 45-7 defeat of USA, Italy’s 48-7 win over Canada and South Africa’s 57-3 victory against Namibia – did not impact the rankings because of the rating difference between the sides.

During Rugby World Cup 2019, the World Rugby Men’s Rankings will update after every match.