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Power Rankings after Round 3 of the Autumn Nations Series

Power Rankings after Round 3 of the Autumn Nations Series

Power Rankings after Round 3 of the Autumn Nations Series

The Autumn Nations Series Round 3 had everything – from a stunning comeback to a huge upset and everything in between, results from the weekend have shaken up our power rankings!

The top two remain unmoved, with Ireland and France bringing their brilliant years to a close with victories.

There is some movement among the chasing pack, however, after South Africa secured their first win of the autumn.

Elsewhere, Scotland responded to their fall down the rankings with a big win over Argentina and Georgia made history with a first-ever win over Wales.

Ahead of the final round, let’s take another look at the lie of land. And if you don’t agree, let us know on the Autumn Nations Series social channels!

Best stats from Round 3 of the Autumn Nations Series

1. Ireland (=)

Ireland flirted with a move down to second but just got over the line against a determined Australia side.

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Like their win over Fiji in Round 2, there will be much for Andy Farrell to unpick as he stews over Ireland’s November, but an unbeaten Autumn Nations Series is not to be sniffed at.

It was clear that much of the preparation for this clash focused on Ireland’s defence, and they were certainly more resolute this time around, keeping Australia at bay until Jordan Petaia crossed to level proceedings in the 70th minute.

Ross Byrne might not have been expecting to see any action over the past month, having last appeared for Ireland during the 2021 Guinness Six Nations, and only being added to the matchday 23 after Johnny Sexton went down in the warm-up.

But his late penalty was enough for victory and ensured Ireland keep their place at the top of the tree.

2. France (=)

Of all of France’s 10 Test victories this year, their 35-17 win over Japan will not linger in the memory for long.

It was a stop-start contest against Brave Blossoms, who were just about in the game for an hour in Toulouse until Matthieu Jalibert arrived on the scene, about the same time the sun came out.

Jalibert’s two chip-kicks created Les Bleus’ final two tries, the first of which went to Damian Penaud before Anthony Jelonch added an extra sheen to the scoreline late on.

3. South Africa (+1)

South Africa move back up to third and can secure their place in top three with a win over England at Twickenham on Saturday.

Italy showed they can mix it with the established powers when Australia were edged out in Round 2, and so there was plenty for Jacques Nienaber to ponder ahead of his side’s trip to Genoa.

They showed their hosts plenty of respect but turned it on in the second half, running in seven tries in their 63-21 victory.

What would have especially pleased head coach Nienaber was his side’s ruthlessness, as they passed 40 points against a Tier One nation for the first time under his stewardship.

An inability to finish their chances cost them against England in last year’s Autumn Nations Series battle, so it will be interesting to see how they fare this weekend against the side ranked just a place below them in the world rankings.

4. New Zealand (-1)

It may seem harsh that New Zealand move down a spot, but they really should have returned south with one final victory.

They were much the better side for large spells of that 25-all epic at Twickenham but had no answer when England finally found their rhythm in the closing ten minutes.

They may be undefeated in seven, but their inability to hold onto a lead remains a serious issue.

Takeaways from Round 3 of the Autumn Nations Series

5. England (=)

Not for the first time, there are more questions than answers around this England side.

They trailed 17-3 at half-time against the All Blacks and had Rieko Ioane not had a try ruled out for gripping Owen Farrell’s neck, they could have been out of sight long before the comeback.

England lacked the zip and panache that saw them put seven tries past Japan in Round 2 until the final eight minutes, when they played some of the best penetrative rugby they have produced for a while.

Lock David Ribbans’ offload for England’s second score is one that Sonny Bill Williams would have been proud of and encapsulated the team’s desire to try anything and everything to salvage a result.

Which England turns up against South Africa remains to be seen, but if they play with the handbrake off like they did at the death against the All Blacks, we could be in for yet another Twickenham classic.

6. Italy (=)

Italy staying in sixth is perhaps more a reflection of the sides around them, rather than their own result against South Africa.

There were some bright sparks – World Rugby’s Breakthrough Player of the Year, Ange Capuozzo, produced another impressive display and scored his third try of the autumn.

The next rising star of Italian Rugby, Lorenzo Cannone, also enjoyed a fine afternoon as he got on the scoresheet and led his team for turnovers with three.

But their defence was porous in the second half, and will be a key work-on for Kieran Crowley as his young side progress.

7. Australia (+1)

The same result for Australia but a much-improved performance against the world’s number one ranked side.

They could even have escaped with a very creditable draw but turned down the option of three points, instead choosing to kick to the corner late on.

The Wallabies did show great resilience to hold out with 13 men at the start of the second half when an Ireland score could well have proved fatal.

And even more pleasingly, Michael Hooper was back to his very best, winning three turnovers and making 15 tackles – both of which were team highs.

Lucchesi 2000 Ireland Australia

8. Scotland (+2)

Gregor Townsend could not have hoped for much more when he reintroduced Finn Russell to the Scotland team ahead of the visit of New Zealand in Round 2.

The fly-half was at his mercurial best against Argentina, producing two superb offloads for Scotland’s first two tries and a lovely break that set up the third.

Defeat against Australia at the end of October now seems like a distant memory, with two deeply impressive performances providing a reminder of just how good Scotland can be.

Player of the Match Russell re-establishes himself as Scotland’s first-choice fly-half

9. Argentina (=)

A difficult day for Los Pumas but it was always going to be when Marcos Kremer was dismissed after just 22 minutes.

Still, Michael Cheika will be hugely disappointed that his side have come up short against Wales and Scotland after that historic win at Twickenham.

His biggest gripe will be their ill-discipline, with three second-half yellow cards coming after Kremer’s dismissal making a difficult day an impossible one.

10. Wales (-3)

The biggest shock of the weekend came at Principality Stadium, as Wales lost to Georgia for the first time in their history.

Victory over Argentina which was built on determined defence offered hope of a free-flowing display against the Lelos.

But Wayne Pivac’s side failed to consistently break down the Georgia defence and were certainly outmatched for passion and desire.

Jac Morgan’s two tries gave Welsh fans something to cheer, but they would have have expected much more from a Wales side that contained just six changes.

Georgian journey just beginning according to captain Sharikadze

11. Georgia (+1)

History made and deservedly so for Georgia.

This really did not seem on the cards after their 20-19 defeat to Samoa the previous week but they were certainly up for the fight, as best demonstrated by their front-row replacements who mercilessly destroyed their Welsh counterparts time and time again.

They will be determined to prove this is not a one-off but should rightly enjoy all the celebrations and plaudits that come with this famous victory.

12. Samoa (-1)

Harsh on Samoa who backed up their win over Georgia with a convincing 22-0 win over Romania.

The damage was done in the first half in Bucharest, with all points coming inside the first 40.

They have certainly banished the memories of that heavy defeat against Italy in week one, and as expected, seem to be progressing well for more time on the training field, having had very little preparation time prior to their first autumn fixture.

13. Fiji (=)

Fiji overcame a strong French Barbarians side to finish their autumn with an auspicious 46-14 victory.

Jiuta Wainiqolo and Vinaya Habosi both scored doubles in Lille, as Vern Cotter’s side dominated from the get-go.

It is hard to say just how far they have come since defeat against Ireland, but their discipline was much improved and earned them a much-needed win at the end of a battling autumn.

14. Japan (=)

Despite defeat, Japan did produce a couple of eye-catching tries against France.

Shogo Nakano broke from near halfway before passing on to Naoto Saito for a brilliant first try at the start of the second half, and then Siosaia Fifita profited from a clever inside ball from captain Atsushi Sakate for a wonderful score off the back of a lineout.

But after defeats of 42-23 and 20-15 to the same opposition in the summer, Japan might reflect on Sunday as an opportunity missed against a France side far from their fluent best.

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