South Africa close in on rankings top spot

(IRB.COM) Monday 9 September 2013
 
 South Africa close in on rankings top spot
Captain Jean de Villiers scores one of South Africa's tries against Australia in Brisbane

There may be no positional changes in the latest IRB World Rankings, but South Africa have closed the gap to New Zealand at the top after their 38-12 victory over Australia in Brisbane in round three of The Rugby Championship.

South Africa’s first win in Brisbane for more than 40 years has seen them cut New Zealand’s cushion from 4.35 rating points to 2.7 ahead of the meeting between the two sides at Eden Park in Auckland this weekend.

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New Zealand are also unbeaten in The Rugby Championship but the 28-13 win over 10th ranked Argentina had no impact on their rating of 91.64, a result of the 15.23 rating points separating the two teams before kick-off in Hamilton.

A third successive defeat in the competition means Australia have seen their advantage over fifth-ranked France reduced to just over two rating points and leaves the Wallabies in danger of slipping another place to equal their lowest position since the rankings were introduced in October 2003.

The weekend’s other match, in Division 1B of the European Nations Cup 2014, saw Poland overcome Sweden 30-9 in Warsaw. However, the match, which forms part of the region’s qualifying process for Rugby World Cup 2015, resulted in no positional changes for either side.

Poland did improve their rating by 0.69 but still remain 27th, just over three tenths behind Germany. Sweden, ranked five places lower, have seen their advantage over Brazil beneath them cut to just one hundredth of a rating point.