Red Roses’ 33-10 victory over France in Grenoble secures top spot

England move to No 1 in the Women’s World Rugby Rankings

England have secured top spot in the Women’s World Rugby Rankings after a 33-10 victory over France in Grenoble.

The Red Roses will overtake New Zealand and move to No 1 when the rankings are officially updated on Monday. It is the first time England have been ranked as the best team in the world since August 2017, when the Black Ferns leapfrogged them during their World Cup-winning campaign.

It was 10-10 at the Stade des Alpes at half-time but England pulled away to score 23 points in the second period and make it six straight wins over the French.

Hooker Amy Cokayne opened the scoring with a try from a powerful driving maul…

Skipper Gaelle Hermet got one back for France when she showed great athleticism to stretch over the line, but it was the visitors who dominated after the break.

First Alex Matthews crossed the whitewash, a try created from a brilliant break by Helena Rowland, and then Jess Breach splintered the French defence to touch down. You can watch her try here…

Red Roses captain Emily Scarratt added 18 points with her boot to ensure it was a comfortable victory over their biggest European rivals. Sarah Hunter, who swapped the scrum for the studio due to injury, is full of praise for Scarratt…

Both sides are likely to make changes for the second and final Test of the series at Twickenham next Saturday, which will also be shown live on BBC Two.

The coaching teams are looking to try out different combinations in the build-up to next year’s World Cup, with the pool draw for that competition taking place in Auckland on Friday morning (Thursday evening in the UK).

England, New Zealand and Canada are the top seeds for the draw, with World Rugby using rankings from the start of the year due to the disruption Covid-19 has caused to the Test calendar. The Black Ferns had been hoping to play eight Tests in 2020 but have instead had to settle for two fixtures against the NZ Barbarians, the first of which they won 34-15.

In contrast, England are the only Women’s Six Nations team to have played all their matches this year as they wrapped up back-to-back Grand Slams two weeks ago.

Now the Red Roses will be hoping to extend their run of successive victories over France to seven next weekend and thus ensure they triumph in all of their 2020 Tests.

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