World Rugby’s rankings system has come under fire this week as England moved to third in the world despite their dismal Guinness Six Nations. Eddie Jones’ side started the Championship in second place in the world courtesy of a bright 2020 in terms of results but slipped to fourth – behind third place France – after their loss to Ireland in round five

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But Les Bleus’ loss to Scotland at the Stade de France last Friday meant England rebounded back to number three, while France were leapfrogged by Ireland. Fabien Galthié’s side therefore finished their Six Nations in fifth place, one place lower than they started, despite coming second. 

Only the champions Wales and Ireland improved in their ranking from the beginning of the tournament, with the former moving from ninth to sixth and the latter moving from fifth to fourth. Meanwhile, Scotland slipped down a place from seventh to eighth, even though they earned their first victories at Twickenham and the Stade de France this Millenium. 

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It is no surprise that the biggest area of contention after the latest standings were released is the position of England, who clearly revealed over the past two months that they are not the best side in the Northern Hemisphere as the rankings would suggest.

They instead are being saved by their 2020 results and their victory over France, which was the only glimmer of hope provided throughout their campaign. 

This is the most controversy the rankings have caused since 2019, where several teams enjoyed brief spells at the top of the rankings prior to the World Cup with the majority of them quite clearly not being the best teams. The rankings are usually a helpful gauge in seeing where the power lies in the global game, but this is an instance where they are out of kilter with reality.

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