Wales fell just short of a record win and score against Ireland in the opening match of the 2023 TikTok Women’s Six Nations but still climbed the World Rugby Women’s Rankings powered by Capgemini.

The 31-5 win in Cardiff saw them trade places with their opponents with Wales moving up to eighth and Ireland dropping down to ninth.

Alex Callender, Keira Bevan, Sioned Harries and Hannah Jones scored first-half tries before Sisilia Tuipulotu capped a player-of-the-match performance with a fifth for Wales.

Bevan managed to kick three of her five conversion attempts and had she got one more, it would have taken Wales past their previous best score of 32 points and winning margin of 27 points, both set in 1997.

Wales have an improved rating of 73.95 points while Ireland have had 1.25 points deducted from their rating, which now stands at 72.76 points.

Hunter bows out on a high

In the second match of the day, England’s most-capped player, Sarah Hunter, signed off on a winning note in her 141st and final appearance for the Red Roses.

Hunter's farewell test was played in her hometown of Newcastle at Kingston Park and Scotland were powerless in their attempts to spoil the farewell party.

The only thing missing was a try from England’s retiring co-captain but the selfless second-row admitted afterwards, “she couldn’t think of a better way to end my career tonight”.

Marlie Packer got a hat-trick and was deservedly named player of the match, while Claudia MacDonald and Amy Cokayne bagged braces and tries from Tatyana Heard, Poppy Cleall and Sadia Kabeya took England’s try tally into double figures.

England’s rating remains 94.29 points and their 1.10-point lead at the top over New Zealand is still intact.

France, meanwhile, rounded off the opening weekend of the Women’s Six Nations with a hard-fought 22-12 win over Italy in Parma.

After tries from Gabrielle Vernier and Carla Arbez were cancelled out by Giada Franco and Alyssa D'Inca for the home side, it was left to Caroline Boujard to seal victory with four minutes left on the clock.

The win saw two-tenths of a point added to Les Bleues’ rating and they are now on 89.88 points, still 3.31 points behind New Zealand in second.

Italy are still half a point better off than Australia in fifth.

North American joy

Away from the Women’s Six Nations. Madrid staged back-to-back internationals which resulted in wins for the two leading North American teams, Canada and the USA.

The first-ever encounter between Spain and the USA outside of a Rugby World Cup ended in a 20-14 win for the Women’s Eagles and a gain of just under half a point.

That was not enough, however, for the USA to improve on seventh place. Spain stay four places further back in 11th.

Meanwhile, Canada romped to a record 66-7 win over South Africa in the first meeting between the teams in 10 years.

It was Canada’s third-biggest win of all time but with a fraction under 20 points and nine places separating the teams, it did not come with any additional reward in the rankings.

Canada remain in fourth with South Arica 13th.