An enthralling month of international summer Test rugby concluded with a bang on the weekend as history was made and series were decided in an action-packed finale.
Ireland led the way for the Guinness Six Nations sides as they claimed an unprecedented 2-1 series win in New Zealand, before England achieved the same result in Australia.
Wales came up short in their quest for a first series win in South Africa, losing the decisive third Test, while Scotland suffered late heartbreak and a series defeat in Argentina.
Check out the power rankings following the conclusion of the summer Tests below.
Unsurprisingly, Andy Farrell’s men remain top of the rankings in our eyes following their historic first series victory over the All Blacks, sealed in style in Wellington.
Having ended their wait for a win over the All Blacks on New Zealand soil a week earlier, momentum was behind the men in green and they capitalised on their moment with a brilliant 32-22 success.
There is no doubt that Ireland are a team on the up, backing up their impressive performances during the 2022 Championship with a monumental result in the Kiwis’ own backyard.
Ireland led 22-3 at the break thanks to a dominant first-half display and while New Zealand reduced the gap to three points, the tourists held their nerve to get over the line.
Although the reigning Guinness Six Nations champions were not in action, they hold their position as well despite England’s win over the Wallabies pushing them very close.
Les Bleus’ stay at the top of the official world rankings did not last long as Ireland’s victory over New Zealand saw them leapfrog Fabien Galthié’s side at the summit.
But there’s no doubt that France remain one of the teams to beat going into the upcoming Autumn Nations Series, the 2023 Championship and next year’s Rugby World Cup.
The Grand Slams winners were unconvincing at times in their two Tests with Japan but considering they were without 13 first-choice players, that was to be expected and if anything the back-to-back wins over the Brave Blossoms underlines the strength of French rugby, with Les Bleus completing a calendar year unbeaten.
Consecutive series victories Down Under – backing up 2016’s famous whitewash – is not to be sniffed at and England will feel they are back on track after a tricky start to the year.
The 2022 Guinness Six Nations did not go to plan but Eddie Jones’ men have shown real character to recover from losing the first Test to win the series against the Wallabies.
Jones hails England’s fight as they seal Test Series victory over Australia
Saturday’s third Test was a tight affair as England initially found themselves 10-3 behind before taking a half-time lead on the cusp of the break with Freddie Steward’s try.
Marcus Smith scored another after the restart and the tourists managed to hold on despite a late resurgence from Australia, giving England a much-needed boost ahead of a big 18 months.
While Wales were unable to match Ireland and England by completing the comeback to seal a first series win in South Africa, Wayne Pivac’s side emerge with plenty of credit.
A first win on South African soil in the second Test was more than many predicted before the tour and they pushed the Springboks to the limit in all three matches of the series.
Only Damian Willemse’s last-gasp penalty denied them in the first Test and although the 30-14 defeat in the finale was disappointing, there is plenty to build on going forward.
Pivac ecstatic after history-making South Africa win
Their defeat to Italy on Super Saturday in the 2022 Championship now feels like a distant memory, with Dan Biggar leading the side well and Tommy Reffell covering himself in glory.
This was a difficult one as the Azzurri were not in action at the weekend, with their summer Test campaign coming to an end with the 28-19 defeat to Georgia seven days earlier.
But all in all it’s been a very good year for Kieran Crowley’s side other than that setback, winning their previous three matches including THAT famous triumph over Wales.
Italy’s trajectory appears to be on an upward trend and with the exciting and youthful team Crowley is building, the experience of the summer Tests will only aid their development.
With the Under-20 side also impressing in the Summer Series, the future looks bright for the Azzurri. Now they just need to make sure this is not another false dawn.
Although they remain ranked seventh in the world, the fourth highest of the Guinness Six Nations sides, Scotland will not look back on these summer Tests fondly.
After losing the opening match against Argentina, Gregor Townsend’s men responded by taking the second Test 29-6 but they ultimately let the series slip from their grasp.
Scotland held a 15-point lead in the decisive third Test after braces from Duhan van der Merwe and Ewan Ashman before the Pumas fought back to prevail 34-31 in a thriller.
And after a 2022 Championship campaign in which they finished fourth, with just two wins to their name, a series defeat in Argentina leaves Scotland with more questions than answers.