New Zealand remained officially the world’s best team after the latest edition of the International Rugby Board (IRB) rankings was published on Tuesday ahead of this weekend’s World Cup semifinals.
But the other three teams in the final four all moved up the standings — with Australia now in second place — on the back of quarterfinal wins over higher-ranked opponents last weekend.
The World Cup is now in its penultimate week with France playing Wales in Saturday’s first semifinal at Auckland’s Eden Park where, 24 hours later, hosts New Zealand face Australia.
France, who were the biggest movers, climbing three places to fifth after beating England 19-12 in a thrilling last eight clash at Eden Park.
Victory saw the French regain the three places they lost after their shock loss to Tonga the previous weekend.
Defeat meant England, who dropped to sixth, lost their position as the top-ranked northern hemisphere team.
That status now rests with Wales following a commanding 22-10 win over Ireland in Wellington last Saturday.
Tonga prevented a total northern Six Nations/southern Four Nations monopoly of the top 10 by remaining in ninth place, narrowly ahead of Scotland, with Samoa in 11th spot and Italy occupying 12th position.
Australia swapped places with South Africa to regain second spot after their hard-fought 11-9 win over the defending World Cup champions at the Wellington Regional Stadium on Sunday.
South Africa’s narrow loss meant they preserved an all Tri-Nations top three in the standings but they are now just a point above Wales.
New Zealand beat Argentina 33-10 in their quarterfinal but that result had no impact on the IRB table as the All Blacks were ranked six places above the Pumas before last Sunday’s game.
Australia’s victory did reduce slightly New Zealand’s standings lead to 3.41 points, with Argentina dropping to eighth following France’s win over England. — AFP
IRB world top 10 on October 10 — position (position last week), team, rating points:
- (1) New Zealand 90.62
- (3) Australia 87.21
- (2) South Africa 84.34
- (6) Wales 83.21
- (8) France 82.68
- (4) England 81.58
- (5) Ireland 80.65
- (7) Argentina 80.28
- (9) Tonga 76.63
- (10) Scotland 76.20
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