From France rocketing to number one in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings to Chile booking their place at Rugby World Cup 2023, this month has been one where the boundaries have been pushed back and glass ceilings broken.
Here are 10 of the best.
GEORGIA BEAT SIX NATIONS OPPOSITION
The Lelos had never beaten Italy in four previous tests but they came up trumps in Batumi with a 28-19 victory that was celebrated long and hard in the country.
WALES WIN IN SOUTH AFRICA
Gareth Anscombe’s nerveless touchline conversion of Josh Adams’ try earned Wales their first-ever win over the Springboks in South Africa, ending 58 years of hurt and arriving at the 12th attempt.
ALL BLACKS LOSE AT HOME TO IRELAND
On a weekend of upsets, prop Andrew Porter was the unlikely hero as his brace secured Ireland an historic 23-12 win in Dunedin. Never before had Ireland won against the All Blacks in New Zealand. Ireland would then go on to complete a 2-1 series win, following a 32-22 victory in Wellington. It was the first time New Zealand had lost a three-match series on home soil in the professional era.
FRANCE AT NUMBER ONE
Their stay at the top may have only lasted one week but Les Bleus are now down in history as one of five teams to stand on top of the World Rugby Men’s Rankings powered by Capgemini. The Rugby World Cup 2023 hosts moved to the top after their second test victory over Japan was combined with defeats for the All Blacks and South Africa.
FIJIANA BRING UP 150
Fiji’s 152 unanswered points against Papua New Guinea in the recently concluded Oceania Women’s Championship is the most points scored in a women’s international match, beating the 141 that the Netherlands scored against Denmark in 2004
IRELAND TOP 90 POINTS
Ireland not only earned enough rating points to replace France at the top of the World Rugby Men’s Rankings last weekend but they also broke through the 90-point barrier for the first time since the system was introduced in October 2003.
FIRST RUGBY WORLD CUP FOR CHILE
Chile’s stunning second-leg victory in the Americas 2 qualifier against USA saw Los Condores qualify for Rugby World Cup 2023 as Americas 2. Pablo Lemoine’s history makers will line up in Pool D with England, Argentina, Japan and Samoa, creating more firsts as a result. Chile have never previously played England, Japan or Samoa before.
CANADA MISS OUT
On the flipside, Chile’s victory against Canada in the Americas 2 play-off en route to their victory against the Eagles ended the North Americans’ proud record as ever-presents at the Rugby World Cup. Next year’s tournament will be the first without Canadian involvement and could also be the first without a North American team, full stop, unless USA can win the Final Qualification Tournament later this year.
HOME BACKING FOR LOS PUMAS
Argentina’s passionate supporters filled the stands and made their voices heard, fully vindicating the decision of the Argentine RU to take the three-test series against Scotland to venues outside of the traditional strongholds of Buenos Aires and Sante Fe.
San Salvador de Jujuy. Argentina’s northernmost provincial capital, had the honour of hosting Los Pumas’ first home test match since 2019. Salta staged the second test, and the series decider was also played in the north, at the brand new, 30,000-capacity Estadio Único Madre de Ciudades in Santiago del Estero
HISTORIC SCOTLAND TOUR
Scotland’s tour of Argentina in July, a 2-1 defeat, was also unique in that the series was played over three tests not two, as was the case when they visited the country in 1994, 2008 and 2010. One-off tests between the teams were also played there in 2014 and 2018.