Little change in IRB rankings
All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw (File)
Cape Town - After a weekend that saw international rugby’s heavyweights slug it out, the latest IRB world rankings show it’s very much round one to the southern hemisphere.
According to the IRB website
, victories for New Zealand, Australia and South Africa on Saturday mean those three sides retain the top three places in the standings.
Their respective opponents - Ireland (eighth), Wales (fifth) and England (fourth) - stay as they were, leaving Scotland as the flag-bearers for the northern hemisphere.
The Scots’ 9-6 win over the Aussies in Newcastle earlier in the week translates as a one-place move up the table to 11th - at the expense of Italy, who suffer for their defeat by Argentina in San Juan.
The Pumas’ South American neighbours, Uruguay, are the big fallers in the rankings, dropping from 19th to 22nd after defeat by Romania in Bucharest. The home side’s margin of victory in the Nations Cup fixture - 29-9 - exacerbated Uruguay’s drop as any difference of 16 or more compounds points lost through defeat itself.
In Tokyo, IRB Pacific Nations Cup action caused a shake-up on the edge of the world top 10.
Japan suffered another reverse after their defeat by Fiji early in the week, losing 24-20 to Tonga on Sunday. Japan therefore drop to 16th after starting the week in 14th place.
Samoa, who defeated Tonga early in the week, continued their good form by beating Fiji 29-26 - a win that moves them up a place to displace Tonga in ninth.
In December the standings will determine the seeding for the 12 automatic qualifiers at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, with the top four nations at the end of the year guaranteed separate pools.
If the draw were made now, for instance, host nation England (fourth in the world) would avoid being in the same pool as one of the southern hemisphere top three. Top 20 in the latest IRB rankings:
1. New Zealand 91.43
2. Australia 86.42 3. South Africa 84.97
4. England 82.99
5. Wales 82.89
6. France 81.91
7. Argentina 80.36
8. Ireland 79.85
9. Samoa 77.23
10. Tonga 76.19
11. Scotland 75.86
12. Italy 74.08
13. Canada 72.92
14. Georgia 70.26
15. Fiji 69.91
16. Japan 68.34
17. USA 65.63
18. Romania 64.54
19. Spain 61.63
20. Namibia 61.24