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Power Rankings as Summer Nations Series gets underway

Power Rankings as Summer Nations Series gets underway

Power Rankings as Summer Nations Series gets underway

International rugby returned to the northern hemisphere on Saturday as Scotland swept Italy aside at Scottish Gas Murrayfield.

The Summer Nations Series curtain-raiser marks the start of an exciting month of rugby, as all teams tune up their preparations for the World Cup.

Several sides are yet to return to the field and so there is little movement across this week’s Power Rankings, but let’s take a quick glance at how action in the Rugby Championship and Pacific Nations Cup affected the standings this weekend.

1. Ireland (=)

Ireland welcome Italy to Dublin on Saturday in their first match since becoming Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam champions.

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That is the first of three home matches for Andy Farrell’s side, for whom the principal focus is identifying an alternative to Johnny Sexton after the fly-half was handed a three-game ban for a misconduct charge.

2. France (=)

The World Cup hosts have been red-hot of late and will look to turn up the heat further still when they travel to Scotland on Saturday afternoon.

Having been leapfrogged by New Zealand in the World Rankings this weekend after the All Blacks’ demolition of Australia, Fabien Galthie’s side will be determined to provide a reminder of their class.

3. South Africa (=)

The first side in our list to have played this weekend, South Africa overcame the loss of Grant Williams to injury in the first minute to battle past Argentina.

The Springboks were far from their best against the Pumas, but got the job done in Johannesburg, with Manie Libbok scoring the decisive try in their 22-21 victory.

4. Scotland (=)

Scotland overturned a half-time deficit to see off Italy 25-13, with the returning Darcy Graham notching a brace.

On his first start since April, the wing showed he has lost none of his predatory instincts with a try in each half before Josh Bayliss made sure of victory at the death.

5. England (=)

Steve Borthwick’s side kick off their August with a trip to Cardiff, hoping to achieve the rare feat of two away victories against Wales in a calendar year.

England edged to victory in a scrappy 20-10 clash in February but will be more concerned by their performance, rather than the result, on this occasion.

6. Australia (=)

Australia play New Zealand prior to travelling north to play France in a few weeks’ time and after three defeats on the spin, Eddie Jones’ side will want to turn things around quickly.

The Rugby Championship has not gone as planned so far for the Wallabies, who suffered a 38-7 defeat against New Zealand on Saturday to leave them with work to do ahead of their World Cup opener against Georgia.

7. Wales (=)

A new-look Wales side will be looking to make their mark across two matches with England and a mouth-watering clash with South Africa.

Among the fresh faces are four uncapped props including Cardiff pair Kieran Assiratti and Corey Domachowski, who have impressed during training camps in Switzerland and Turkey

8. Fiji (+1)

The highest ranked Pacific Islands side on our list and with good reason, Fiji are two from two in the Pacific Nations Cup.

They backed up a 36-20 victory over Tonga with a 33-19 win over Samoa as forward Tevita Ikanivere crossed twice in Apia.

9. Samoa (-2)

Former All Black Steve Luatua is the pick of the eight stars to have made their Samoa debuts in the last fortnight.

Their home defeat by Fiji, while disappointing, was far from disastrous and the visit of Tonga next weekend will provide more insight into their World Cup credentials.

10. Italy (=)

Italy’s first game since the announcement that Kieran Crowley will not be continuing as head coach post World Cup yielded a 25-13 defeat to Scotland, with Montanna Ioane grabbing their sole try.

A busy few weeks lie ahead for the Azzurri, with a trip to the Aviva Stadium followed by home matches against Romania and Japan.

11. Georgia (=)

One of the most exciting sides in world rugby, Lelos fans are being made to wait to see their side in action.

Georgia’s Summer Nations Series calendar sees them play three back-to-back fixtures but the first is not until Saturday 12th August, when they host Romania, with the USA and Scotland to follow from there.

12. Japan (=)

Japan complete their Pacific Nations Cup campaign with a home tie against Fiji following a two-point defeat to Samoa and a five-point success over Tonga.

Jamie Joseph’s side make the trip to Europe to take on Italy at the end of August, 15 days before their World Cup opener against Chile.

13. Tonga (=)

Completing our list is Tonga, who sit bottom of the Pacific Nations Cup.

The Sea Eagles play Canada twice and will then have a month on the training field before a testing start to their World Cup, with Ireland lying in wait in Nantes.

14. Romania

Romania also start their World Cup with a game against the World’s No.1 side.

Their Summer Nations Series kicks off on Saturday with the USA making the trip to Bucharest.

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