While England celebrated securing the Women’s Six Nations title for the third year in a row with a hard-fought 10-6 victory against France, Australia and the USA were also winners – from a World Rugby Women’s Rankings perspective – without actually taking to the field.
Italy’s 25-5 defeat to Ireland in the third-place play-off cost them the two places they had gained the previous week with victory over Scotland. And as a result of the Azzurre losing one-and-a-half rating points, the Wallaroos and US Women’s Eagles were able to reclaim fifth and sixth place, respectively.
Winger Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe marked her first start by grabbing a brace for Adam Griggs’ Ireland side, who remain in eighth place in the rankings but are now only eight hundredths of a point behind the Azzurre. Dorothy Wall and Cliodhna Moloney were Ireland’s other try scorers, while Melissa Bettoni was responsible for Italy’s points.
The gap between Wales and Scotland in the rankings is even closer following the result of Saturday’s meeting between the teams in the fifth place play-off at Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow.
Scotland came out on top, 27-20, and move to within two-hundredths of a point of their beaten opponents, with Wales hanging onto 10th place and Scotland still in 11th.
Megan Kennedy, Christine Belisle, Evie Gallagher and Megan Gaffney scored tries in Scotland’s first victory in the tournament since a 2018 triumph away to Ireland.
Lisa Neumann crossed for Wales' first try of the tournament, while her fellow winger Caitlin Lewis grabbed a late consolation score.
In the Women’s Six Nations 2021 final, France pushed the defending champions all the way at the Twickenham Stoop but were unable to wrestle the trophy from the Red Roses’ grasp.
A highly competitive first half looked set to be scoreless until Poppy Cleall sniped over with the clock in the red, and Emily Scarratt put a couple of uncharacteristic earlier misses behind her to slot the conversion.
France fly-half Caroline Drouin was also hit-and-miss from the tee in the windy conditions but was successful with two of her attempts to make it a one-point with seven minutes remaining.
Only dogged defence kept Les Bleues at bay before Scarratt sealed victory for the world’s number one ranked team with a late penalty of her own.
Based on the 9.21-point differential between the team before kick-off and the fact England were at home, the outcome did not have any impact on the rankings.
England stay on 93.40 points, 0.42 of a point clear of New Zealand at the top, with France in fourth on 85.09 points, 2.40 points behind Canada above them.