Ireland's women well placed in first ever rugby rankings

New Zealand start off at No 1

Niamh Briggs, Ireland, Six Nations

Ireland women's captain Niamh Briggs with the women's RBS 6 Nations trophy ©INPHO/James Crombie

Ireland have been ranked as the fourth best team in the world in the first ever global rankings for women's Test rugby.

The reigning Six Nations champions and 2014 World Cup semi-finalists are ranked ahead of Canada, USA and Australia.

Four-time World Cup winners New Zealand are No 1, ahead of second-placed France and reigning world champions England who come in at No 3.

"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," said World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset on the introduction of a rankings system to the women's game.