Ireland officially up to second in World Rugby rankings
Schmidt’s side leapfrog England but could lose their place if beaten at Twickenham
Conor Murray and Bundee Aki during Ireland’s win over Scotland. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Ireland’s Grand Slam week has got off to a good start, after they were officially moved to number two in the World Rugby rankings on Monday.
Joe Schmidt’s side beat Scotland 28-8 at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday - their 11th Test match victory on the bounce.
Later the same day England were beaten 22-16 by France in Paris - a result which meant Ireland had secured the Six Nations Championship with a week to spare.
And if the Championship victory alone wasn’t enough to show how the order of power in the northern hemisphere has shifted, the two results also moved Ireland up to second place in the world behind the All Blacks.
Ireland are now on 87.85 ranking points - and hold a slender advantage over England on 87.50.
The inquest has begun for Eddie Jones’ side following consecutive defeats to Scotland and Ireland - but they still have plenty to play for next Saturday.
Victory over Ireland at Twickenham would not only stop the visitors from completing the Grand Slam, but would also see England regain second place in the world.
It’s a small consolation after losing their grasp on the Six Nations title - but it’s another narrative to add to a fascinating end game.
The stakes are high.
World Rugby Rankings (as of March 12th 2018):
1 New Zealand (93.99) (Previous 1)
2 Ireland (87.85) (3)
3 England (87.50) (2)
4 Australia (85.49) (4)
5 South Africa (83.81) (6)
6 Scotland (83.80) (5)
7 Wales (83.07) (7)
8 France (79.44) (10)
9 Argentina (78.22) (8)
10 Fiji (77.93) (9)
14 Italy (71.13) (14)