Cape Town - Despite not playing at the weekend, the Springboks have moved up one spot to FIFTH in the official World Rugby rankings.
This was due to Wales' dominant 34-7 Six Nations win over Scotland in Cardiff at the weekend.
Wales’ bonus-point triumph - their first since the Six Nations adopted the bonus points system last year - was worth 1.35 rating points, improving Wales’ overall points tally to 83.43, just under four-tenths less than South Africa, who took Scotland’s place in fifth.
Scotland dropped to seventh after the defeat.
The Springboks’ improvement is somewhat ironic given the fact that coach Allister Coetzee was relieved of his duties just last Friday.
During Coetzee’s two-year stint in charge, the Boks had slipped from No 3 to No 6 in the rankings courtesy of winning only 11 out of 25 Tests.
Elsewhere, Johnny Sexton’s last-gasp drop goal against France in Paris not only kept Ireland’s Grand Slam dream alive, but also saw them pick up just under half a rating point to boost their tally to 86.86.
The gap between themselves in third and second-placed England is now down to a fraction over four points.
England did not gain anything from a rankings perspective for their clinical 46-15 win over Italy in Rome, due to the 19.62-point differential between the sides before kick-off.
In turn, France’s agonising 15-13 home loss to Ireland has seen them fall to their lowest-ever position of 10th since the rankings were introduced in October 2003.
Fiji replace them in ninth to equal their highest-ever ranking.
Top 20 in latest World Rugby standings:
1. New Zealand 93.99
2. England 90.87
3. Ireland 86.86
4. Australia 85.49
5. South Africa 83.81
6. Wales 83.43
7. Scotland 82.75
8. Argentina 78.22
9. Fiji 7793
10. France 77.62
11. Japan 75.66
12. Georgia 73.46
13. Tonga 71.87
14. Italy 71.25
15. Romania 69.58
16. Samoa 69.03
17. USA 66.87
18. Uruguay 65.56
19. Russia 64.45
20. Spain 61.68