SPORTS

Now we are 9th

The Vodafone Flying Fijians have moved to the ninth spot in the latest World Rugby rankings. Speaking to SUNsports yesterday, Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer John O’Connor said this
23 Aug 2017 15:35
Now we are 9th
Vodafone Flying Fijians lock Leone Nakarawa wins a lineout as he is supported by Api Ratuniyarawa and Manasa Saulo. Photo: Zimbio

The Vodafone Flying Fijians have moved to the ninth spot in the latest World Rugby rankings.

Speaking to SUNsports yesterday, Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer John O’Connor said this is a great achievement.

“The Flying Fijians have become the only tier 2 nation to be in the top 10 rankings and this is good news for Fiji Rugby,” he said.

“We thank John (McKee) and the players for their hard work during the June Test series.”

O’Connor said a lot of hard work has been done to attain such ranking but now we have to work even more harder.

“We’re now ranked ahead of Argentina and behind France. These are tier one nations and they play more test rugby compared to us. This has challenged us to work even harder and the Northern tour is very critical for us to do well.”

World Rugby has labelled the Fijians and South Africa as the biggest climbers of the rankings.

South Africa now have 84.51 rating points, three-tenths more than the Wallabies, while Argentina are now a third of a point behind Fiji on 79.15 points.

Meanwhile, leaders New Zealand picked up from where they left off following last year’s procession to The Rugby Championship title with a 54-34 bonus-point victory over Australia that was even more emphatic than the scoreline suggests in the opening round of the 2017 competition.

The All Blacks produced a superb first half of rugby and led 54-6 after 48 minutes before the Wallabies salvaged some pride by scoring four unanswered tries to take them to within 20 points at the end.

Rieko Ioane and Ryan Crotty both bagged a brace of tries apiece in a victory that will not only help offset the disappointment of the drawn series against the British and Irish Lions but also increase their cushion over England at the top of the rankings to more than five points.

Liam Squire, Sonny Bill Williams, Damian McKenzie and Ben Smith also scored tries as the All Blacks picked up 0.43 of a rating point to move on to 95.21 points.

Debutant Curtis Rona, Tevita Kuridrani, Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau all crossed for the home side, with Foley converting them all, but there was no disguising the gulf between the teams which, from a rankings perspective, is now exactly 11 points.

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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