New Zealand
Black Ferns top new women's World Rugby rankings
ESPN Staff
February 1, 2016
New Zealand's Portia Woodman is one of the biggest stars in women's rugby © Getty Images

World Rugby has introduced global rankings for the women's XV games with New Zealand topping the inaugural list. 

The rankings take into account every international since 1987 and comes into play on February 1, 2016. The new rankings see New Zealand topping the standings with France in second, England third and Ireland fourth.

"World Rugby is committed to driving forward the competitiveness of the women's game and the new rankings are yet another significant milestone," World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset said.

"After the success of Women's Rugby World Cup in 2014 and the excitement building up to the next edition in 2017 in Ireland, it's vital for international teams to have a rankings focus that will drive exposure and interest as well as increasing the competition schedule, as it encourages member unions to play more test matches.

"It's a positive step for one of the fastest growing team sports in the world, as it brings parity with the men's game. Today's announcement also comes as a timely boost ahead of what will be an exciting Women's Six Nations Championship."

England's Rugby World Cup-winner Rachael Burford added: "It's great to see an official rankings system introduced to the women's game.

"I believe the rankings will really add an extra competitive edge for the upcoming RBS 6 Nations and other international test matches in the future, which can only be good for the game. The rankings will also give an extra boost to the promotion of the women's game around the world."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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