LONDON – Even though South Africa picked up over half a rating point for their Rugby Championship title-clinching 46-13 victory against Argentina in Salta over the weekend, they still dropped a place on the World Rugby Rankings, which was announced on Monday.
The reason for this was England’s 33-19 win over Wales. It earned the English 1.07 points, which was enough for them to trade places with the Springboks and move up to fourth.
New Zealand's record 47-26 loss to Australia in the final round of the Rugby Championship on Saturday nearly knocked them off the number one spot. But, with Wales losing, it meant the All Blacks continue their reign as the No 1-ranked team.
Wales stay in second place but are just two-tenths of a point ahead of Ireland, who beat Italy 29-10 in Dublin on Saturday.
Japan continued their impressive pre-Rugby World Cup 2019 form by dispatching the USA 34-20 in Suva to claim the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup and also earn enough rating points to leapfrog Fiji on the rankings.
With an overall rating of 77.21 points, Jamie Joseph's side now find themselves ranked ninth, equalling their previous best position, which was last held in February 2016, five months after they'd shocked the rugby world with their stunning RWC 2015 victory over the Springboks in Brighton.
Latest world rankings:
1. New Zealand 89.04
2. Wales 88.89
3. Ireland 88.69
4. England 87.34
5. South Africa 86.83
6. Australia 84.41
7. Scotland 80.17
8. France 79.42
9. Japan 77.21
10. Fiji 76.98
African News Agency (ANA)