What a timely victory for Ireland. A less than impressive Six Nations campaign saw Ireland slip to seventh in the world, looking dangerously over our shoulders at dropping into the third seeds for the upcoming Rugby World Cup draw and a potential horror group.
We saw the damage that happened with Wales when they fell to ninth before the draw for the 2015 World Cup, being drawn in a pool with Australia and England.
But fears can be eased a little after Ireland's historic victory in South Africa. Ireland still stay in seventh, but they've put nearly four points between themselves and France in eighth. More importantly, they are 0.26 away from Argentina in fifth place.
England's win over Australia, and South Africa's loss sees the Grand Slam champions rise to third, and they are closing in on Australia's hold on second. Any sort of English victory in the next test will see the English overtake Australia in the rankings.
There are a lot of ranking points on offer for Ireland with tests against South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia to come. The next two tests against South Africa are almost free shots at the world rankings. Because South Africa are both at home and ranked higher, two heavy Irish losses will not drop them as much as that victory already has.
That should give Schmidt some breathing space to experiment should he want to.
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