Flying High

Ireland achieve highest-ever points total in latest World Rugby rankings

Joe Schmidt’s side won 10 of their 11 Tests last season.

A REMARKABLE SEASON which scaled rarefied heights ends with another notable achievement, as Joe Schmidt’s Ireland achieve a highest-ever points total in the latest World Rugby rankings.

Peter O'Mahony lifts the Lansdowne Cup Ireland celebrate their series win in Sydney. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

In winning 10 of their 11 Test matches over the course of last season, Ireland accumulated a Triple Crown, Grand Slam, Six Nations title and, most recently, a landmark series victory in Australia for only the second time, and first since 1979.

Schmidt’s side consolidated their position in second place of the rankings with Saturday’s series-clinching victory over the Wallabies in Sydney, while passing the 90-point mark for the first time.

Ireland began the campaign in fourth place on 85.39 rating points but memorable wins at the Stade de France and Twickenham en route to Grand Slam glory saw them hit a rankings high of second for the first time since August 2015.

New Zealand remain the number one ranked team in the world but Ireland closed the gap at the summit, the All Blacks’ advantage now just 3.87 points after the summer Test series.

Steve Hansen’s side defeated France 3-0 but gained no further reward, while England moved up to fourth place in the rankings after avoiding a series whitewash to South Africa with victory at Newlands on Saturday.

Despite their overall series win, Rassie Erasmus’ South Africa slip one place to sixth with the Wallabies sandwiched between the Springboks and England in fifth. Wales are in third position.

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.

Gregor Townsend’s men remain in sixth position, with France, Fiji and Argentina making up the top 10.

Ireland are next in action in November, when they begin their busy Autumn international schedule with a fixture against Conor O’Shea’s Italy in Soldier Field, Chicago.

Argentina and USA then visit the Aviva Stadium in-between a much-anticipated renewal with the All Blacks in Dublin on Saturday 17 November.

Screen Shot 2018-06-25 at 15.24.33 World Rugby World Rugby

Full rankings available here>

Originally published at 15.41

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