On another busy weekend of women’s internationals, world number one England made it three wins from three this November with victory over Canada, and now hold a 6.15-point lead over New Zealand at the top of the World Rugby Women’s Rankings powered by Capgemini.
Back-to-back wins over New Zealand (43-12 and 56-15) were followed by another impressive display at the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday and this time it was the North Americans who felt the full force of their powerful all-court game, losing 51-12.
Test debutant Heather Cowell, Sarah Bern and Claudia MacDonald all grabbed a brace of tries apiece and Alex Matthews also got in on the act. England have now scored exactly 150 points this month and only conceded 39 and look in great shape to threaten New Zealand's grip on the Rugby World Cup trophy.
Simon Middleton’s side will hope to round things off in style when they take on USA in their fourth and final encounter of the autumn in Worcester next Sunday.
The Red Roses did not pick up any additional rating points for their 17th consecutive victory but the gap between themselves and the Black Ferns has widened due to events in Pau.
Winger Cyrielle Banet scored two of France’s six tries as Les Bleues beat the Black Ferns for the third consecutive match, running out 38-13 winners.
The world champions’ biggest-ever defeat at the hands of France cost them 2.19 rating points and there is now a danger that they could drop out of the top two in the rankings for the first time in history.
France and New Zealand meet again in Castres next weekend and it will take some turnaround for the Black Ferns to return home on a high note.
Watch back the best of the action as Wales beat South Africa in Cardiff 🏉 pic.twitter.com/iXV87iKzyg— BBC Sport Wales (@BBCSportWales) November 13, 2021
Wales turn the screw thanks to Phillips
It was all smiles in Celtic rugby circles as Ireland, Wales and Scotland all won. But it was only the Irish who climbed the rankings, moving above Italy and into seventh place thanks to a hard-fought 20-10 win over USA on Friday.
Béibhinn Parsons and Leah Lyons crossed in the first half as Ireland took to their new surroundings at The RDS straight away.
Lindsay Peat then dotted down in the second half and Stacey Flood added a last-minute penalty to her earlier conversion, as the RWC 2017 hosts sealed the victory in front of a vocal home crowd.
Former captain Carys Phillips enjoyed a memorable return to test rugby after two years out with a hat-trick as Wales made it two wins from two under new head coach Ioan Cunningham with a 29-19 win over South Africa.
Phillips’ first try and one from Ffion Lewis helped Wales into a 17-0 half-time lead but the Springbok Women grew into the contest and actually ‘won’ the second half.
Phillips extended Wales’ lead shortly after the break but South Africa hit back with tries for Nomawethu Mabenge and Zintle Mpupha before the hooker completed her hat-trick.
Libbie Janse van Rensburg had the final word for South Africa, who remain in 13th position in the rankings. Wales are still two places and 7.62 points better off in 11th.
Second-half surge sees Scotland home
A 36-12 victory for Scotland against lower-ranked Japan, bookended by tries for Rhona Lloyd, did not have any impact on either teams’ ranking.
Japan had won 24-20 in the only previous meeting between the teams in November 2019 but the loss of second-row Yuna Sato to a red card meant they had to play for an hour a player down.
Still, the Sakura 15s led 14-12 at half-time and it took an exceptional second-half performance against tiring opposition for Scotland to do the business.
Czechia enjoyed the biggest gain of the weekend, shooting up six places to a new high of 38th on the back of a 27-0 win away to Switzerland in the Rugby Europe Women’s Trophy.
Victory in their third and final game in the competition took Czechia to the top of the table but they will have to wait to see how the remaining matches pan out next year before they can celebrate retaining the trophy.
Meanwhile, in the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup, Zambia won their first-ever fixture against Namibia 75-5. It came with a three-place rise in the rankings to 27th.