Australia have received a timely boost ahead of Saturday’s match against Wales in Cardiff after moving up the World Rugby Rankings without even kicking a ball.
Scotland’s 21-10 defeat to the same opponents at the same venue cost them 0.41 of a rating point and leaves their overall points tally at 82.61 – a quarter of a point less than the Wallabies – in seventh place.
All the points in the Doddie Weir Cup encounter at the Principality Stadium were scored in the opening 48 minutes, George North and Jonathan Davies finishing well for Wales with captain Stuart McInally dotting down in between for Scotland.
Wales’ first winning start to a November series for 16 years helped boost their rating to 86.35, still nearly four points shy of an Ireland team that produced a powerful second-half performance to down Italy 54-7 at Soldier Field in Chicago.
Ireland only led 14-7 at the break but a second-half Jordan Larmour hat-trick helped put considerable distance between themselves and the Azzurri.
Neither Ireland nor world number one New Zealand, who defeated Japan 69-31 in Tokyo, picked up any further rating points this weekend given the large gap between themselves and their beaten opponents.
Centre Ngani Laumape scored a hat-trick for the All Blacks and Richie Mo’unga capped another impressive display with a try and 17 points from the boot.
Poland set the early pace in Trophy
International rugby took place throughout Europe this weekend and Poland took the opportunity to move up two places to 31st – above Korea and Switzerland – after a 33-0 win over Lithuania in Lodz.
The home side couldn’t find a way through Lithuania’s defence in the first half and only had four penalties from the boot of fly-half Wojciech Piotrowicz to show for their efforts in front of a crowd of 2,155.
The game followed a similar pattern in the second half until scrum-half Mateusz Zeszutek finally burst through a gap in the 55th minute. Piotrowicz added the extras and then converted a try from full-back Krystian Pogorzelski. Mateusz Adamski scored Poland’s third try with fellow replacement Jakub Borukl converting for a 33-0 scoreline.
Poland have now won both their opening matches in the Rugby Europe Trophy and sit atop the embryonic table. Despite losing a whole rating point, Lithuania are still ranked in 34th place.
Sweden leave it late to continue rankings rise
Sweden continued their march up the rankings after a nail-biting 10-9 win away to Luxembourg in Conference 1 North saw them gain five places.
Fly-half Phillip Murphy landed the match-winning penalty 11 minutes from time, after his opposite number William Browne had slotted three kicks to hand Luxembourg a 9-7 half-time lead.
Swedish winger Alfred Nordgren scored the only try of a match that saw both sides lose two men to the sin-bin.
Hungary were slow out of the blocks in their Conference 1 North encounter away to Moldova but eventually came good to register a 31-16 win that lifts them up five places to 64th. Moldova fall seven to their lowest ever ranking of 56th.
Dumitru Bilici’s try and two penalties and a conversion from Mihai Golubenco saw Moldova post 13 points without reply by the end of the first quarter. But winger Gregoire Collet single-handedly got Hungary back into the contest with three penalties and a try giving them a 14-13 half-time lead.
Hungary kept their noses in front thereafter, replacement Roland Marki, centre Szilard Jung and number eight Thomas Ducrocq all crossing for tries.
Moldova were hampered by two second-half yellow cards and could only manage three more points from another Golubenco penalty.
In Conference 2 South, Marc Abello booted 14 points as Andorra defeated Slovakia 27-14. However, Andorra did not pick up any rating points for their first win of the season as Slovakia are not World Rugby members, leaving their ranking of 76th unaltered.