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Power Rankings: Summer Nations Series Round 2

Power Rankings: Summer Nations Series Round 2

Power Rankings: Summer Nations Series Round 2

Week 1 of the Summer Nations Series is in the books and there is plenty to look back on after three absorbing matches in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Dublin.

The action comes thick and fast, with two re-matches this weekend, before teams from the southern hemisphere get involved in a fortnight.

Let’s take a quick glance at how the weekend’s action affected the standings this weekend.

1. Ireland (=)

Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam Champions Ireland picked up where they left off as they comfortably beat Italy 33-17 in their opening Summer Nations Series match at the Aviva Stadium to record a 15th successive home victory.

Two tries from flanker Caelan Doris helped overcome a spirited Italian side in Dublin after a dominant first-half display from the Irish who were without suspended captain Johnny Sexton.

Head Coach Andy Farrell will have been pleased with his team’s performance but injuries to back-rower Jack Conan, full-back Jimmy O’Brien and scrum-half Craig Casey will give him something to think about ahead of their next two SNS matches against England and Samoa.

2. South Africa (+1)

Defending world champions South Africa beat Argentina for the second time in a week as the Springbok’s produced a comfortable 24-13 victory over the Pumas in Buenos Aires.

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Fourteen points from the boot of Manie Libbok contributed to the win for Jacques Nienaber’s side ahead of their first Summer Nations Series fixture against Wales on 19th August in Cardiff.

3. France (-1)

World Cup hosts France couldn’t capitalise on an impressive first-half display as they lost 25-21 against Scotland at Scottish Gas Murrayfield.

Fabien Galthié’s much changed XV stormed into a 21-3 half-time lead after some slick and powerful rugby but couldn’t hold on despite playing the last 30 minutes of the match with a man advantage following Zander Fagerson’s red card.

The Guinness Six Nations runners-up won’t have to wait long to try and avenge this defeat however, as the two sides meet again on Saturday in Saint-Étienne.

4. Scotland (=)

Gregor Townsend’s Scotland made a perfect start to their Summer Nations Series campaign after overturning an 18-point half-time deficit to beat France.

Hooker Dave Cherry, a 57th minute substitute, scored the try which put Scotland ahead before Finn Russell’s late penalty put the hosts four points clear.

The comeback was even more impressive as the Scots played the last half an hour with 14 men following prop Fagerson’s upgraded red card for a dangerous clear-out on Pierre Bourgarit.

The two sides meet again on Saturday in Saint-Étienne with Scotland looking to win two consecutive matches against the French for just the second time since 1964.

5. Wales (+2)

Second-half tries from Gareth Davies and George North handed Wales a much-needed boost ahead of the World Cup as they saw off a below-par England side 20-9 at Principality Stadium.

Leigh Halfpenny kicked 10 points in his 100th appearance as Warren Gatland’s team won just their second match of the year.

6. England (-1)

England will be looking to bounce straight back from their 20-9 defeat to Wales as the two sides face off again at Twickenham this weekend.

Steve Borthwick will be hoping performances improve over the course of the next three Summer Nations Series matches ahead of their World Cup opener against Argentina on 9th September.

7. Australia (-1)

1999 World Cup Champions Australia couldn’t convert a 17-3 half-time lead as they lost to rivals New Zealand for the seventh straight time in their Bledisloe Cup clash in Dunedin.

Eddie Jones, who led the Wallabies to the World Cup final in 2003, only has one more match, their Summer Nations Series encounter against France, to end a run of four defeats on the bounce before their World Cup opener against Georgia.

8. Fiji (=)

Fiji remain the highest ranked Pacific Island nation on this list after making it three wins from three in the Pacific Nations Cup following a 35-12 win over 2019 World Cup quarter-finalists Japan in Tokyo.

The visitors ran in five tries in total and were largely untroubled throughout the game, especially after Japan were reduced to 14 men after Lappies Labuschagne’s dismissal after six minutes.

9. Samoa (=)

Samoa got back to winning ways following their 33-19 home defeat to Fiji with a 34-9 Pacific Nations Cup victory over Tonga in Apia.

The win will give Samoa confidence of competing in Pool D and will have one more opportunity to get ready for the World Cup when they face Ireland in the Summer Nations Series in just under three weeks’ time.

10. Italy (=)

Italy continued their poor run of form in 2023 as they recorded their seventh defeat from seven games this calendar year, losing 33-17 at the hands of Ireland in Dublin.

Kieran Crowley’s side, who haven’t won since beating Australia in 2022, will be hopeful of tasting victory next time out against Romania.

11. Georgia (=)

Georgia have less than a week to go until they play Romania, before further matches with the USA and Scotland.

With Romania losing to the USA last time out, Georgia will be targeting a win in their first game.

12. Japan (=)

After two close games in the Pacific Nations Cup, Japan fell to a 35-12 defeat against Fiji in their last game of the four-team tournament.

Jamie Joseph’s team, who reached the quarter-finals in the 2019 World Cup, face Italy in their last match before getting their tournament underway in France against Chile.

13. Romania (=)

Romania couldn’t overcome the United States in Bucharest as the European outfit lost 31-17.

Having trailed 31-0, Romania will have been happy to have scored 17 points, including three tries of their own as they continue to prepare for a World Cup pool featuring Ireland and South Africa.

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