One Percenters: Wallabies drop in world rankings, Ioane signs in US MLR

Rugby World Cup
by Beth Newman, Emma Greenwood and Iain Payten

The Wallabies' World Cup disappointment was compounded on Sunday with news that Australia has dropped to its lowest world ranking in history.

Australia's defeat to England pushed them down to seventh in the world at the end of their campaign, dropping behind host nation Japan in the list.

Australia has been consistently no. 6 in the world for the past year but rankings movements are exacerbated in Rugby World Cups.

With double points awarded for each match and the rankings updated after full-time, there is plenty of room to move.

It wasn't that long ago that anything outside of the top three would have been viewed as a disaster for the Wallabies, but the landscape of world rugby has changed dramatically.

New Zealand hold the no. 1 ranking after their win with England moving up to no. 2, Wales at no. 3 and South Africa sitting fourth.

Ireland has suffered a dramatic drop in the rankings as well, slipping from no. 1 at the beginning of the tournament down to fifth in the world after their quarter-final defeat.

RANKINGS

World Rugby rankings

1. New Zealand

2. England

3. Wales

4. South Africa 

5. Ireland

6. Japan 

7. Australia

8. France

9. Scotland

10. Argentina

Ioane heading to US MLR


Former Wallabies winger Digby Ioane is the latest big-name player to sign up with the USA's major league rugby.

Ioane will play for the Glendale Raptors in the 2020 season, following in the footsteps of All Blacks legend Ma'a Nonu in heading to the competition.

The 34-year-old has been playing for Panasonic in the Japanese Top League, after a stint with the Crusaders in Super Rugby.

The Raptors confirmed the signing this week ahead of the fourth Major League Rugby season. 

A host of Aussies have featured in the competition including former Waratahs Paddy Ryan and Matt Sandell and ex-Aussie Sevens player Con Foley.

Steelers progress to world final

While the Wallabies will be leaving Japan without a trophy, the Australian Steelers have made it through to the final of the World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge in Tokyo.

Australia defeated hosts Japan in their semi-final to qualify for the decider against fierce rivals the USA.

Team veteran Ryley Batt played his 300th match for the side during the tournament and will be hoping to add another trophy to his cabinet in Sunday night's final.

The match will be streamed live here.

Rival lauds Pocock's legacy

Sam Underhill has long admired David Pocock. Photo: Getty ImagesIt says a lot about David Pocock that his rivals respect him almost as much as his teammates, as he pulls the curtains on a glittering Test career.

Pocock's England counterpart Sam Underhill was a pivotal part of the English quarter-final victory, in tandem with man of the match Tom Curry, outgunning their childhood hero.

Speaking to RUGBY.com.au post-match, Underhill was glowing in his praise of Pocock on and off the field after the Aussie's final Wallabies Test.

"Yeah, it's a bit surreal coming up against him this evening." he said.

"Tom and myself were talking about it and he's been such a brilliant player. I think any kid, any young back row growing up in the last five or 10 years has probably looked at him as a guy that they want to be like and play like and certainly that was the case for myself and Tom.

"He's had a phenomenal career and he's been a brilliant role model for kids both on and off the pitch. A genuinely nice guy and he's had a phenomenal career."

Kiwis pay tribute to Best 

Speaking of greats bowing out, New Zealand were effusive in their tributes to Ireland captain Rory Best after 

Best was all but in tears after Ireland crashed out of the tournament in their defeat and New Zealand coach Steve Hansen and captain Kieran Read made a point of acknowledging Best's contribution to rugby.

The hooker has played 124 Tests over a 14-year international career and will bow out as one of Ireland's most successful skippers.

Dubai Sevens schedule announced

Australia's men's and women's paths through the Dubai Sevens has been unveiled.

The first men's tournament of 2019-20 and the second women's leg will kick off on December 5, running until Sunday December 7.

Australia's women, who finished second in Glendale last month, take on Fiji, Ireland and Spain in their pool stages.

The Aussie men, who face an Olympic qualifying tournament next month before the World Series kicks off, meet Scotland, Ireland and the USA in their group stages.

SCHEDULE

Dubai 7s. All times AEDT

Women's schedule

Thursday December 5

10:12pm - Australia vs Fiji

Friday December 6

4:22pm - Australia vs Ireland

9:34pm - Australia vs Spain

Men's schedule

Friday December 6

12:50am - Australia vs Scotland

6:58pm - Australia vs Ireland

Saturday December 7

1:12am - USA vs Australia

Waratahs sign Abel


While the World Cup has been rolling on, Australia's Super Rugby teams have been preparing for 2020 with a host of new signings.

NSW was the latest to add a new face to its list with former Brumbies and Rebels hooker Robbie Abel signing on with the Waratahs for next season.

The announcement followed news last week that Sydney Uni hooker Tom Horton and Junior Wallabies winger Joey Walton would be joining NSW in 2020.

England-Australia locked in for 2020

Well before the whistle was even blown in Saturday's World Cup quarter-final, England had locked in their next encounter with the Wallabies.

The RFU announced their 2020 Autumn Internationals schedule on Friday and the Wallabies will be Twickenham visitors on November 28, 2020.

Australia has now lost seven in a row to England dating back to 2016 but there's expected to be plenty of change in the national setup by the time this clash rolls around.

Watch this space.