Fitting Dublin finale for Joe Schmidt and Rory Best as Ireland climb to number one

Ireland captain Rory Best and head coach Joe Schmidt after their final game in Dublin against Wales
Ireland captain Rory Best and head coach Joe Schmidt after their final game in Dublin against Wales
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Joe Schmidt and Rory Best added another first to their Ireland CV's as the men in green defeated Wales 19-10 at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday afternoon and climbed to the top of the Rugby World rankings.

It is the first time Ireland have reached the pinnacle, climbing above New Zealand - whom they beat for the first time both home and away in the past three seasons.

Ireland will now go into the Rugby World Cup in Japan in just over a fortnight's time as number one in the rankings, but Schmidt who along with captain Best and Greg Feek took their Dublin bow on Saturday when they will stand down after the global extravaganza was not getting carried away by the latest feather to his 10-year tenure as head coach.

Schmidt inherited an Ireland side languishing eighth in the world in 2013 and has turned them into a northern hemisphere powerhouse, and the Kiwi coach enjoyed an emotional last hurrah at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The 53-year-old insisted afterwards, however, that back-to-back defending champions New Zealand remain the team to beat at the World Cup.

"I didn't even realise we were number one until the post-match interview," said Schmidt.

"That's how far away from our thoughts it's been. It's a label, it's a nice label to get, and it's a nice first time that we've been in that position.

"We have been lucky enough to tick off a few firsts with this group in the last six and a half years. But that label is not going to be relevant to anyone.

"We all know who the favourites are for the Rugby World Cup, and it's not us."