Georgia’s shock win over Wales in Cardiff, Scotland’s helter-skelter game against Argentina, England’s dramatic fightback against New Zealand and France completing a calendar year unbeaten were just some of the storylines as rugby reinforced its reputation as a sport that continually rewrites its own scripts.
In terms of the World Rugby Men’s Rankings powered by Capgemini, Scotland jumped the highest due to their 52-29 win over a Los Pumas team that conceded three yellow cards and a red, moving up from ninth to sixth.
With Finn Russell in majestic form and having a hand in six of the eight tries scored by the home side, Scotland racked up their highest-ever score against the South Americans — in spite of losing two men to the sin bin themselves — and they are now the higher-ranked of the two teams, with Los Pumas dropping to ninth.
Darcy Graham became the first Scotland hat-trick scorer against Argentina and Sione Tuipulotu bagged his first test tries, crossing twice, before receiving a yellow card right at the death as a raucous Murrayfield crowd revelled in the points-fest.
Georgia stun Wales
The mood in Cardiff was much more sombre as Wales lost 13-12 to Georgia, their first-ever defeat to the Lelos.
With Australia visiting the Principality Stadium next Saturday, Wales still have a chance to end the year on a high but they will go into the match ranked ninth, one below Australia, after a fall of two places.
Georgia’s first win over Wales at the fourth attempt came with a two-point rating reward which was enough to see them replace Fiji in 13th.
Above Scotland, there was no movement with Ireland, France, New Zealand, South Africa and England occupying the top five in that order.
Ireland and France did not pick up any additional points for their wins over Australia and Japan due to the large points differential teams before home advantage was factored in.
But the Springboks did get a marginal reward of 0,20 of a point for their 63-21 win against Italy in Genoa, while England’s rating was nudged up by 0,17 of a point after they hauled themselves off the ropes at 25-6 down to draw 25-25 with New Zealand.
Pacific heights in Bucharest
Samoa have moved up to 11th as a result of their 22-0 win against Romania in which all the points were scored in the first half.
Also in Bucharest, the first meeting between Tonga and Uruguay ended in a convincing 43-19 win for the Pacific Islanders.
Tonga remain in 15th place, but are now only 3,63 points behind Fiji and one place worse off. At the start of the month, the gap was 7,29 points and Fiji were ranked four places higher.
Uruguay have fallen below Spain and into 17th place due to the 1.07 points they lost.
With USA missing out on qualification for Rugby World Cup 2023 after a 16-16 draw with Portugal and Canada losing 43-37 to Namibia, it was a very disappointing weekend for North American rugby.
While the draw did not materially affect the USA’s score or position, Canada have dropped to 23rd with Namibia replacing them in 21st.
The win over Canada in Amsterdam was Namibia’s first over non-African opposition since they beat Uruguay 30-28 in Montevideo in June 2019. — rugbyworldcup.com