New World Rugby rankings see Wales fall below Fiji for first time in 16 years

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For the first time since January 2008 Wales are below Fiji in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings.

Wales’ rating has dropped by 0.51 points to 78.67 points following their 19-17 defeat to England at Twickenham in the Summer Nations Series on Saturday, leaving them three-hundredths of a point behind Fiji.

The teams have traded positions in the rankings with Fiji the higher-ranked of the two teams for the first time in more than 15 years in ninth place and Wales in 10th.

Competition hotting up in Pool C

It adds further spice to an already tasty-looking Pool C at Rugby World Cup 2023 as four of the teams – Australia, Fiji, Wales and Georgia – are next to each other in the rankings in positions eight to 11.

Wales, who have been as low as 10th before, will be rueing their performance in the final quarter when they let an opportunity to end an eight-year wait for a win over England at Twickenham slip through their hands.

England scored the try that gave them hope while they were down to 12 men and George Ford kicked the penalty that ultimately won them the game in the 76th minute.

It shows how fine the margins in test rugby are that had Ford missed and England lost, they would have sunk to an all-time low of ninth place with Wales up to seventh.

As it stands, England remain in sixth place and happy to have got away with a win despite ill discipline which cost them four initial yellow cards (before Owen Farrell’s was upgraded to a red under the TMO bunker review system).

Only once before in England’s long test history have they been shown four yellow cards in a match – in a 32-6 home defeat to New Zealand in November 2008.

Events at Twickenham were followed by another Summer Nations Series match that could have gone either way.
Scotland had an opportunity to move up to a historic rankings high of fourth with victory over France in St Étienne, but a late Thomas Ramos penalty clinched a 30-27 win for Les Bleus.

The 0.23 points that France picked up in avenging their defeat to Scotland at Murrayfield the week before were not enough for them to overhaul New Zealand above them in second place. But the gap between the two is now down to 1.55 points.

Scotland stay in fifth place with 2.48 points separating them from England.

Georgia recorded their biggest win and highest score in 25 years of playing Romania with a 56-6 win in Tbilisi.

Record win for Georgia and Portugal impress

However, the win did not improve the Lelos’ rating or position in the rankings due to the large points differential between the teams even before home advantage was factored in.

Similarly, Tonga did not receive any reward for defeating lower-ranked Canada, 28-3, in the first match of their two-test series in Nuku’alofa on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Portugal’s first test in Faro ended in a 46-20 win against USA, the team they edged out in the race for the 20th and final ticket to Rugby World Cup 2023 back in November by winning the Final Qualification Tournament in Dubai.

Back then, a 16-16 draw was enough for Portugal to confirm their place in Pool C as the final qualifier but this time around there was clear water between the teams as Os Lobos beat the Men’s Eagles for the first time in four attempts.

Portugal remain in 16th place as a result of the win but with an improved rating of 68.61 points, while USA drop down a place to 18th with Uruguay the side to benefit.

The final game of the weekend saw Chile and Namibia play each other for the first time in test rugby.

Both sides scored four tries but it was the African team who came out on top, 28-26.

Chile drop two places in the rankings to 24th with Namibia remaining 21st with an improved rating of 62.61 points.

SOURCE: WORLD RUGBY/PACNEWS