South Africa bounced back to winning ways in The Rugby Championship with a dominant 31-8 victory over Australia on Saturday to return to second place in the latest IRB World Rankings.
The Springboks surrendered second spot to Australia after their Rugby World Cup 2011 quarter final defeat, but the margin of victory at Loftus Versfeld means they now sit four tenths above the Wallabies.
Despite a third loss in five Rugby Championship matches, an injury-hit Australia still sit just over two rating points above England and France and will be desperate to avoid further falls with the top four teams in the rankings to be kept apart in the RWC 2015 Pool Allocation Draw on 3 December.
New Zealand swept Argentina aside in La Plata to win 54-15 and clinch the title with a round to go, but the result had no impact on their rating given the seven places and 13.09 points they sit above Los Pumas.
The All Blacks’ cushion at the top, though, did increase by one hundredth to 5.82 rating points as a result of South Africa’s five-try victory in Pretoria, Bryan Habana touching down three times in the win.
The biggest movers of the last seven days, though, were Paraguay who climbed two places to 37th on the back of a 29-14 victory over Bermuda in the latest round of RWC 2015 qualifying in the Americas region.
PARAGUAY END BERMUDA'S RWC 2015 DREAM >>
Paraguay, who will now face Brazil in another one-off match on 27 October, climb above Sweden and Kenya, while the defeat sees Bermuda fall one place to 50th with Senegal the beneficiaries.
- Monday 30 September 2013 - World Rankings
South Africa inch closer to rankings top spot
- Friday 27 September 2013 - World Rankings
Second within reach for Australia in rankings
- Monday 16 September 2013 - World Rankings
New Zealand increase rankings cushion at top
- Thursday 12 September 2013 - World Rankings
Ranking top spot at stake in Auckland
- 29 July - Sean Fitzpatrick on his early obsession with rugby
- 28 July - Hong Kong's Dai Rees and first, Zimbabwe's Liam Middleton on the repechage
- 28 July - Pablo Lemoine on future of rugby in Uruguay
- 25 July - Barbados prepare for Commonwealth Games in Sutton Coldfield
- Listen to this week's Total Rugby show