Willie le Roux celebrates the final whistle in the Springboks 36-34 win over the All Blacks on Saturday. Photo: Raghavan Venugopal / © www.Photosport.nz 2018

LONDON – The Springboks' 36-34 win over New Zealand in Wellington allowed them up two places in the World Rugby Rankings to fifth, while Australia drop to an all-time low of seventh after losing to Argentina.

With this win, South Africa breathed new life into The Rugby Championship while at the same time boosting their World Rugby Ranking. The two rating points awarded to South Africa and Australia’s home defeat to Argentina have combined to send the Springboks up to fifth, on 83.35 points.

It looked ominous for South Africa when tries from Jordie Barrett and Aaron Smith gave New Zealand a 12-0 lead after just 15 minutes, but the visitors responded magnificently to reel off 21 unanswered points of their own in a 12-minute blitz.

Tries from winger Aphiwe Dyantyi, hooker Malcolm Marx and fullback Willie le Roux, all converted by Handre Pollard, changed the course of the game and, while Reiko Ioane pulled one back for the All Blacks, Pollard’s penalty on the stroke of halftime ensured the Springboks had a seven-point advantage at the break.

After a breathless first half, the game continued to be played in the finest traditions of New Zealand and South African rivalry and the Springboks stunned the home crowd when half-time replacement Cheslin Kobe stretched their lead to 12 points within a couple of minutes of the restart.

Ioane and Dyantyi scored their second tries of the match as the helter-skelter nature of the game continued before tries from Codie Taylor and Ardie Savea left South Africa hanging on for a famous victory.

New Zealand’s first home defeat since they lost to the British and Irish Lions in July 2017 has seen their lead over Ireland at the top of the rankings cut to 2.40 points. Meanwhile, Argentina condemned Australia to their lowest-ever ranking of seventh after a 23-19 win over the Wallabies on the Gold Coast.

World Top 10 rankings:

  1. New Zealand 92.52
  2. Ireland 90.12
  3. Wales 85.94
  4. England 85.68
  5. South Africa 83.35
  6. Scotland 83.02
  7. Australia 82.45
  8. France 79.10
  9. Argentina 79.02
  10. Fiji 76.54 

African News Agency (ANA)

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