New Zealand’s lead over England at the top of the Women’s World Rugby Rankings will be down to 3.31 points when they are updated at 12 noon on Monday, after the Red Roses' dominant 79-5 win over Canada on Friday.
Jess Breach, one of seven new faces in the England line-up, had a debut to remember at Allianz Park in North London as she bagged an incredible six tries to put England 1-0 up in the three-match series. Breach scored with her first touch in international rugby and was unstoppable thereafter as England racked up 13 tries against their inexperienced opponents.
The victory was worth 0.28 of a point to take England onto 92.35 points overall, compared to the Black Ferns’ 95.66.
England and Canada meet again at the Twickenham Stoop on Tuesday before playing in the series finale at Twickenham Stadium, with free entry after the England men’s international against Samoa
Despite losing just less than a third of a point in defeat, Canada will remain comfortably in fourth place, behind France, with a 7.23-point buffer between themselves and the USA in fifth.
On Sunday, France had to rely on super-sub Camille Boudard to get them out jail against hosts Italy. The Azzurre led 21-20 with 65 minutes gone, following tries from Sarah Barattin, Manuela Furlan and Beatrice Rigoni, who converted all three. Up to that point, France had managed tries through Charlotte Torres Duxans, Cyrielle Banet and Safi N´Diaye.
But Boudard made an instant impression as soon as she came onto the field, scoring twice, before Emeline Gros added further gloss to the scoreline with her side’s sixth try in the final minute. The victory will not be rewarded from a rankings perspective given there are over 13 rating points and five places between the sides