Having ended a 12-year wait for a Six Nations Grand Slam earlier this year, France are now celebrating another milestone as they are top of the World Rugby Men’s Rankings powered by Capgemini for the first time in history.
Les Bleus’ hard-fought 20-15 win over Japan on Saturday was followed by shock defeats for New Zealand and South Africa, sending them to number one with a lead of nearly two-thirds of a point over Ireland who move up two places to second.
Ireland would have gone top but Will Jordan’s late try in Dunedin brought the winning margin in their 23-12 win over the All Blacks Dunedin below the 16 points required.
With France and Ireland occupying first and second, it is the first time since the rankings were introduced in October 2003 that northern hemisphere teams have occupied the top two spots.
South Africa went into the July internationals as the world’s best team but are now down to third following their last-gasp 13-12 loss at the hands of Wales. Wales are up one place to eighth.
New Zealand have paid a hefty price for their 23-12 defeat to Ireland in Dunedin as it’s led to a drop of two places to fourth – their lowest-ever position.
Wins for England and Scotland against Australia and Argentina have moved them above their beaten opponents, into fifth and seventh respectively. The Wallabies are down to sixth, while Los Pumas are now ninth, a fall of two places.
Lelos move ahead of Italy
Georgia have taken Italy’s place in 12th as a result of their historic 28-19 win over Italy, with the Azzurri now ranked 14th.
Samoa have taken 13th spot following their 34-18 win over Tonga in the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup.
The biggest climbers of the weekend in the Top 20 were Romania, with the Oaks moving up three places to 16th on the back of a gain of 1.35 rating points.
Hong Kong and Namibia’s Rugby World Cup qualifier wins came with a one-place gain, with the sides now ranked in 21st and 23rd respectively.
USA are unchanged in 17th, despite coming away from Santiago with a precious one-point win, but the defeat has cost Chile one place with Los Condores dropping down to 24th.
The conclusion of the Rugby Africa Cup 2022 also brought about some sizeable movement in the rankings.
Uganda’s 18-17 victory over Ivory Coast in the fifth-place play-off sees them jump eight places to 44th.
In the encounter between the two beaten semi-finalists, Algeria came out on top against Zimbabwe, 20-12, to reach an all-time high for the second consecutive week.
Algeria are now 74th. Zimbabwe have slipped five places to 32nd and the Ivory Coast are down six to 50th.