3 Feb 2016

NZ tops women's rankings

5:21 am on 3 February 2016

World Rugby has announced details of the first-ever official global ranking system for women's Test rugby, with New Zealand the first team to top the rankings.

Black Ferns rugby player Selica Winiata

Black Ferns rugby player Selica Winiata Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The rankings were introduced after a comprehensive process of obtaining and analysing every result from the first official women's international matches dating back to 1987 and are based on the same criteria as the men's rankings.

Fans will not have to wait long for some big rankings clashes as three of the top five teams will go head-to-head during this year's 6 Nations, which kicks off this weekend.

The new system, which came into effect yesterday, will be a weighted system with the number of points available to the winning team proportional to the difference in ranking points between the teams prior to the match.

Introduction of the women's rankings furthers anticipation ahead of an exciting 18 months of test rugby that will culminate in the much-anticipated Women's Rugby World Cup 2017 in Ireland.

Similar to the men's rankings, teams will be penalised an equivalent amount to a loss to a significantly lower ranked team per year if they do not play any matches in the space of two calendar years.

The Black ferns won the last of their four World Cup titles in 2010.

The All Blacks top the men's rankings also.

1) New Zealand - 92.08

2) France - 87.18

3) England - 86.71

4) Ireland - 83.61

5) Canada - 82.12

6) USA

7) Australia

11) Samoa

32) Fiji

38) Tonga