South Africa may have failed to get the bonus point in their 28-8 win over Australia in the penultimate round of The Rugby Championship on Saturday, but they have slightly narrowed the gap to New Zealand at the top of the IRB World Rankings.
The Springboks, who must now beat New Zealand in Johannesburg with a bonus point and deny their visitors a bonus point to win the title, closed the gap by just over three tenths, but still trail the world champions by 3.23 rating points.
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Australia’s fourth defeat of The Rugby Championship 2013 means they now sit less than two points above fifth ranked France as they travel to Argentina to face the Pumas in the battle to avoid the wooden spoon.
New Zealand’s 33-15 victory over Argentina in La Plata had no impact on the rating of either team as a consequence of the 15.66 rating points and nine places separating the two nations.
The only match resulting in positional changes to the IRB World Rankings was the European Nations Cup Division 2D encounter between Finland and Greece in Turku on Saturday.
Finland won 35-20 and their reward is to climb off the foot of the rankings – climbing a single place to 99th – with Greece replacing them. Mauritius also climb one place to 98th as a result of Greece’s fall and now sit just under five tenths above Finland.
AUDIO: FINLAND RUGBY UNION TECHNICAL DIRECTOR STEPHEN WHITTAKER ON THEIR RANKINGS CLIMB >>
- 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
- 09 March - Ben Gollings and Waisale Serevi on rugby in Brazil
- 08 March - Sandrine Agricole on France women's Six Nations campaign
- 7 March - England v Wales: Rugby World Cup memories and dreams
- 07 March - Andy Robinson looks ahead to the penultimate round of the Six Nations
- Listen to this week's Total Rugby show