The Latest World Rankings Are Out & It's Good News For Ireland

Violet Powell
March 13, 2018

He's been proven right.

"Johnny Sexton made a similar comment when he said no-one was jumping around in the dressing room, basically indicating that no-one was celebrating a win yet but we'll do that on Saturday if we achieve the Grand Slam".

"Against these two nations, we showed that we could compete".

The English won 24 of their first 25 tests.

"It is not as if they hadn't had a recent warning about what would happen if they did not master the battle on the floor".

Ireland are now on 87.85 points - over six behind the world's number one team New Zealand, and 0.35 in front of England, who they face at Twickenham on Saturday as they go in pursuit of only their third Grand Slam.

Kiwi wing Sean Maitland says Scotland will continue to "chuck the ball around and have some fun" despite a 20-point Six Nations defeat to champions Ireland.

Frailties have been exposed in recent weeks, though.

"It's a sizeable but fixable problem", Jones said on Saturday after the 22-16 loss in France. "I think we've got the best players here".

Steve Hansen's men play both England and Ireland later this year.

"We still don't know [about Hartley]", added Jones. That was the difference: we played well, we didn't take our chances. "We haven't been quick enough to adjust to that". I expect him to be available but we'll just have to wait and see.

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Against Ireland, England may switch Robshaw back to No. 6 because of an injury to Courtney Lawes. Just ask George Ford.

"I know there's a lot of hype around it, and there will be more, there'll be a lot o distraction that you'll have to deal with and put to the side, and we're good at focusing on what we need to do, and what we need to get better at from last week. I can't blame the Premiership", Jones said. "It's been hard for George because we've been playing off slow ball".

"Jones has huge credit in the bank but these will be tricky times".

Perhaps the most significant achievement of the likes of O'Gara, Brian O'Driscoll and Paul O'Connell are the players now seeking to match them.

Les Bleus missed only eight from 176 tackles - only two in the first half - and dominated England at the breakdown, holding firm in the opening 15 minutes when their opponent enjoyed 75 percent of possession. "They're full of world-class players".

Jones is unlikely to relent, though.

The Australian talks up the need for physicality in the team, and the loss to injury of destructive No. 8 Billy Vunipola ahead of the Six Nations has been a major blow to England.

"England are going to be no different".

COMPLACENCY England's rise to No. 2 in the rankings led to favorable comparisons with the All Blacks.

"It's interesting, in 2015 these players were no good, in 2016 they were terrific, in 2017 they were world beaters and now after two games they're no good again". And, while those handling errors were extremely costly, he believes that just about every other aspect of his team's play in the Aviva Stadium was exactly as required for a big away win. "Teams have ups and downs". Global rugby is dramatically different now from where it was 12 months ago.

"We're not going to change the way we play".

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