Cape Town - Australia have leapfrogged South Africa and moved into third place in the World Rugby rankings after chalking up their first win of this year’s Rugby Championship campaign.
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Tries from rookie Adam Coleman and centre Bernard Foley, who also kicked 13 points, were enough to end a six-game losing streak as Australia fought back from 14-3 down inside the first quarter to win 23-17.
The Wallabies gain just under eight-tenths of a rating point as a result of the victory in Brisbane and move on to 85.02 points in the rankings, while the Springboks drop to fourth place on 84.30.
In Hamilton, New Zealand were given their sternest test of the year by an Argentinian side determined to play at the same high tempo as the All Blacks.
The lead changed hands several times in a quality first half of rugby which ended with the hosts 24-19 up.
Nicolas’ Sanchez’s fifth penalty of the match reduced the arrears to just two with 50 minutes gone; however, the remainder of the match belonged to New Zealand, who cruised to a third straight bonus-point victory after amassing 33 points without reply.
Fit-again centre Ryan Crotty crossed twice in the four-try blitz and outstanding fullback Ben Smith completed a brace as New Zealand took their game to yet another level.
Neither side’s ranking was affected by the outcome, with New Zealand remaining out in front by some distance as the world’s No 1 team and Argentina unchanged in seventh.
The All Blacks now hold a nine-point lead over South Africa in the Rugby Championship table, knowing that victory over the Springboks in Christchurch on Saturday will all but guarantee them the title. The other fourth round tie is between Australia and Argentina in Perth.
Top 15 in the latest World Rugby rankings:
1. New Zealand 96.30
2. England 89.49
3. Australia 85.02
4. South Africa 84.30
5. Wales 82.49
6. Ireland 81.67
7. Argentina 81.44
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