England and Tonga climb rankings

Tonga player Peni Latu trains during the captain’s run at Churchill Park Lautoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND

DUBLIN, 26 JUNE 2018 (WORLD RUGBY)—England and Tonga both enjoyed a profitable weekend from a World Rugby Rankings point of view with each nation enjoying a two-place gain following their respective victories over South Africa and Fiji.

After avoiding a 3-0 series whitewash at the hands of hosts South Africa thanks to a 25-10 win over the Springboks in the third and final test at Newlands, England have moved up to fourth place in the World Rugby Rankings.

Owen Farrell’s first win in charge of the team was worth one and a third points to lift them above Australia and  South Africa. Another three points from the boot of Farrell, who kicked six penalties and a conversion for a 20-point haul, would have taken Eddie Jones’ men back up to third – their position at the start of the summer.

As a result of the defeat, South Africa slip one place to sixth with the Wallabies sandwiched between the two teams in fifth following their defeat to Ireland in Sydney. Like Farrell, Johnny Sexton contributed most of his side’s points, kicking five penalties in a 20-16 win that clinched the men in green their first series win Down Under since 1979.

Ireland picked up 0.92 of a point to further secure second place in the rankings behind an All Blacks side that gained no reward for their third straight win over France. On a day when fly-halves caught the eye, Damian McKenzie celebrated his first start at number 10 for New Zealand by converting both of his tries and five others for a 24-point haul. New Zealand won 49-14 after another strong second-half showing.

Meanwhile, Scotland made up some of the ground they lost following last week’s shock one-point loss to the USA with a convincing 44-15 win against Argentina in Resistencia. George Horne’s brace and tries from captain Stuart McInally and Blair Kinghorn, Magnus Bradbury and Dougie Fife ensured Scotland ended their summer tour on a high.

The 1.19 rating points awarded to Scotland were not enough to take them any higher than their current standing of sixth though, while Los Pumas remain in 10th place.

Tonga’s superb 27-19 win over Fiji in Suva combined with Georgia’s 28-0 loss to Japan has moved the Ikale Tahi up to 12th place at the Lelos’ expense. It is Tonga’s highest position since March 2016 and just reward for a win that relied on the boot Sonatane Takulua and a late try by Dan Faleafa.

The USA continued their long unbeaten run against Canada with a 42-17 victory in front of a sold-out crowd at the Wanderers Grounds in Halifax. Cam Dolan followed in the footsteps of Russia’s Anton Rudoi in becoming the second number eight to score a hat-trick against Canada in as many weeks.

With only a quarter of a point on offer for their seventh consecutive test win, the Eagles stay in 15th place in the rankings. Canada are also unmoved in 22nd.

Namibia and Kenya both enjoyed wins in the latest round of the Africa Gold Cup but neither team were able to improve their position. Morocco’s home defeat to Kenya did, however, result In them dropping to 40th.

Having taken the first leg of their Asia Rugby Championship Division 1 double-header against Singapore 32-24, the Philippines swap places with their beaten opponents in moving up from 58th to 56th in the world.

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