Coming one week after victory over France, quite rightly, the International Women’s rugby rankings have rewarded England. The 10-6 win over France gave the Roses a third successive Women’s Six Nations title.
World Rugby released data on the rugby rankings permutations, after last weekend’s result. It has reinforced the existing number one ranked side, while leaving the French women (Les Bleues) in fourth place, behind Canada, and second placed New Zealand.
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) April 24, 2021
This week, a friendly International test again facing France is to be played in Lille. It will be yet another opportunity for player’s to build experience, and to test themselves against. France are still the leading side on the continent, so every fixture is a bonus for Simon Middleton’s group.
Women’s rugby rankings reward England
Along with retaining the International Women’s rugby rankings advantage, England continued a formidable record that has been earned over the last five years. Statistics revealed by World Rugby show that England hold many records, that were only endorsed more by their Championship win.
England have won their last eight meetings with France
France have won only once in their last 13 meetings with England – 18-17 in March 2018
Since that defeat, England have only lost one of their last 26 test matches – 28-13 against New Zealand in July 2019 – and are on a run of 13 consecutive victories
The Red Roses have won 44 of their last 48 tests, losing only to New Zealand (2016, 2017, and 2019) and France (2018) in that time
That sequence started after Ireland triumphed 11-8 in February 2015
All those stats underline the current pedigree of England. Even though they do not hold the Rugby World Cup title, looking at the rescheduled tournament that will be hosted by New Zealand, this England Rugby women’s group are a commanding force.
Even though the 10-6 scoreline did not reflect higher score aggregates in past encounters, England’s management commended the manner of the win. Middleton was reported in The Guardian, “I know this side has character and we proved that we are tough to beat.
“We stayed in the fight and went toe-to-toe with a very physical side. It may not have been a feast of running ruby but in some ways the game demonstrated what rugby is all about. It’s a game of defence as well as attack. We have a great recent record against France but we had to work incredibly hard and if we had dropped three per cent off our performance we would have lost.”
By the time 2022 rolls around, it appears that only New Zealand can realistically sustain any confidence against England. Recent results in the Women’s Six Nations only reinforce that sentiment. And the women’s rugby rankings point to a literal ‘showdown’ when these two sides face-off next.
The match on French soil will see if that same attitude has carried on past the celebrations the women must have enjoyed. With a revised France side prepared to challenge England yet again, the champions must be sure the end of their campaign does not become soured by a loss in Lille.
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