England have lost their status as the world’s second-ranked side following their Six Nations defeat to Scotland on Saturday.
The English already suffered the ignominy of losing to the Scots at Twickenham for the first time since 1983, but their 11-6 defeat, which secured Scotland the Calcutta Cup for the third time in four years, has had consequences on the World Rugby rankings.
It doesn’t make for pretty reading for Eddie Jones’ men, who have fallen from second to third on the rankings in the wake of the result.
In doing so, they’ve swapped places with the All Blacks, who return to second place for the first time since last November.
Victory over Italy at home this weekend will do little to restore their place behind the world champion Springboks, but a return to form over the coming weeks in the remainder of the Six Nations could see England rise back up to second place.
Scotland’s surprise win wasn’t enough to elevate them out of seventh spot, although they have closed the gap between them and the sixth-placed Wallabies, with just 0.26 points separating the two sides on the rankings.
A follow-up victory against Wales at Murrayfield this weekend would close that gap even further, especially after the Welsh moved up one place to eighth on the rankings after their 21-16 over a 14-man Ireland side in Cardiff on Sunday.
That result at the Principality Stadium forced a swap in placings between Wayne Pivac’s team and Argentina, with Los Pumas demoted to ninth place.
The other Six Nations match this weekend sees fifth-ranked Ireland host fourth-ranked France in Dublin.
Victory for either side would be insignificant in their hopes of moving up the rankings, although an away win for Les Bleus may be damaging for the Irish, who are only 0.34 points ahead of Australia.
World Rugby rankings (1-10)
1) South Africa (N/C) – 94.20
2) New Zealand (+1) – 88.95
3) England (-1) – 87.49
4) France (N/C) – 85.30
5) Ireland (N/C) – 83.42
6) Australia (N/C) – 83.08
7) Scotland (N/C) – 82.82
8) Wales (+1) – 80.59
9) Argentina (-1) – 80.31
10) Japan (N/C) – 79.29
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