David Pocock scored in a 71st-minute try to hand Australia victory over Six Nations champions Ireland on Sunday. Photo: EPA/DARREN ENGLAND
David Pocock scored in a 71st-minute try to hand Australia victory over Six Nations champions Ireland on Sunday. Photo: EPA/DARREN ENGLAND
Rieko Ioane gets breaks free to score one of New Zealand's eight tries against France on Saturday. Photo: REUTERS/Ross Setford
Rieko Ioane gets breaks free to score one of New Zealand's eight tries against France on Saturday. Photo: REUTERS/Ross Setford
S'bu Nkosi scores one of his two tries on Test debut for the Springboks against England on Saturday. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
S'bu Nkosi scores one of his two tries on Test debut for the Springboks against England on Saturday. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

LONDON, England – Australia beat Ireland to move up to third in the World Rugby Rankings while Fiji equal their best-ever position of ninth after benefitting from Argentina’s home defeat to Wales.

Somewhat surprisingly given the volume of matches that took place over the weekend, there is very little change to the World Rugby Rankings with Australia and Fiji the only nations improving their positions.

Captain David Pocock’s 71st-minute try proved the difference as the Wallabies edged out Ireland 18-9 in a titanic tussle in Brisbane. In ending Ireland’s 12-match winning run Michael Cheika’s side pick up 1.07 points which takes them above England and into third.

For now, Ireland are safe in second place, behind New Zealand who turned in a second-half masterclass to beat France 52-11, but the difference between the Six Nations champions and the Wallabies is now down to one and a half points. The All Blacks scored 44 unanswered points in the second half in Auckland to start their international season with a bang.

However, the win did not come with any reward from a rankings point of view due to the near 15-point gap between themselves and Les Bleus who threatened to cause an upset when they led 11-8 at halftime.

For the first time in two years, England find themselves down to fourth in the rankings. Eddie Jones’ side had looked set to end their recent run of bad results as they raced into a 24-3 lead playing some superb rugby but, inspired by returning scrumhalf Faf de Klerk and a brace of tries from debutant winger S’Busiso Nkosi, the Boks rallied magnificently to win.

The jubilant Springboks picked up just over one rating point for the home win but stay in seventh place behind Scotland, the Scots having beaten Canada 48-10 in Edmonton. In that match, George Turner became the first Scotland player to score a hat-trick for over a decade.

World Rugby top 10 rankings:

  1. New Zealand 93.99
  2. Ireland 88.05
  3. Australia 86.56
  4. England  85.19
  5. Wales 85.13
  6. Scotland 83.83
  7. South Africa 83.81
  8. France 79.10
  9. Fiji 77.93
  10. Argentina 77.13

African News Agency (ANA)

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