London — England’s record win over Ireland lifts them up to third in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings on a weekend when Scotland, Zimbabwe and Mexico also made gains.
Zimbabwe’s imperious form continued on Saturday with a 32-26 win over Uganda. The Sables’ fourth straight victory in the four-nation Victoria Cup cements their place at the top of the standings and also sees them climb up a place in the rankings to 32nd.
Zimbabwe scored four tries through forwards Blithe Mavesere, Keith Murray, Godfrey Muzanargwo and Matthew Mandioma and captain Hilton Mudariki kicked two
conversions and a penalty, while fly-half Dudlee White-Sharpley also chipped in with five points from a penalty and a conversion.
But the prolific kicking of talented full-back Philip Wokorach, who contributed 16 points from four penalties and two conversions to add to two tries from
centre Michael Wokorach and flanker Byron Oketayot, meant the result was in doubt right up until the final whistle.
Uganda drop below the Ivory Coast, while Kenya also find themselves down one as a result of Zimbabwe gaining just under a third of a rating point in victory.
Other than staying in contention for the Victoria Cup, Kenya did not get any reward for their 31-16 win over the much lower-ranked Zambia. England produced a
sizzling performance on a red-hot day in London to rack up their biggest win over Ireland and raise expectation levels ahead of Rugby World Cup 2019. In terms
of preparing for the game’s showpiece tournament in Japan, Ireland were one match behind England and it showed as Eddie Jones’ men ran in eight tries, seven of
them converted, to win 57-15 at Twickenham.
With the pack dominant and able to take advantage of Ireland’s misfiring lineout, England’s backs had plenty of quality possession to work with and they seized
on the chance to cut loose, Manu Tuilagi capping a man-of-the-match display with one of their tries.
Joe Cokanasiga pocketed a brace and Elliot Daly also got his name on the scoresheet with England’s other tries coming from hard-working Saracens second-rows
Maro Itoje and George Kruis, and hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie with what is becoming a customary steal at the back of the lineout.
Ireland scored first in the match after nine minutes through Jordan Larmour but they had to wait until the 73rd minute to cross England’s line again, Bundee
Aki’s neat finish down the right touchline providing one of the few positives on an otherwise forgettable afternoon.