Cape Town - The Springboks have leapfrogged Australia in the official World Rugby rankings, while New Zealand still have their sights set on equalling a world record after victory over Argentina.
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Morne Steyn kicked all of South Africa’s points as the Boks maintained their proud home record at the Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria with a hard-fought 18-10 victory over Australia in the penultimate round of the Rugby Championship.
The veteran flyhalf slotted two drop goals, becoming the first Springbok player to do so in a single Test since Francois Steyn kicked a pair against Australia in Cape Town in June 2007, and four penalties to earn South Africa their first win in four outings and 0.82 rating points.
All of Australia’s points came in the first quarter through a Scott Sio try, the prop’s first in 23 Tests, and a conversion and a penalty from Bernard Foley but they were unable to sustain the momentum and slipped to a seventh straight loss at the high-altitude venue.
As a result, the Boks replace Australia in third place on the rankings, with the Wallabies dropping to fourth, on 84.71 points, just over two points clear of Wales in fifth.
The All Blacks remain 6.81 points clear at the top of the rankings following their 36-17 win against Argentina in Buenos Aires with Los Pumas unchanged in seventh.
The Kiwis now travel to Durban knowing that victory over the Boks on Saturday will see them equal the world record for consecutive wins (17) by tier one nations - held by themselves and South Africa.
Australia and Argentina conclude their Rugby Championship fixtures with a ground-breaking game at Twickenham the same day, one that will decide who finishes bottom of the 2016 table.
Top 15 in the latest World Rugby rankings:
1. New Zealand 96.30
2. England 89.49
3. South Africa 85.12
4. Australia 84.71
5. Wales 82.49
6. Ireland 81.67
7. Argentina 80.93
8. France 80.75
9. Scotland 80.44
10. Fiji 75.49
11. Georgia 75.23
12. Japan 74.95
13. Italy 72.23
14. Samoa 71.37
15. Tonga 69.47