New Zealand will overtake South Africa at the top of the World Rugby Rankings after claiming a 54-16 victory against Wales in Cardiff.
When the rankings are officially updated tomorrow, they will show New Zealand in first place, with South Africa in second, after the All Blacks disposed of an understrength Wales side in front of a full house at the Principality Stadium.
The All Blacks lost top spot in the rankings following their defeat to the Springboks in the final round of the Rugby Championship, but their win against ninth-placed Wales is enough to edge them back in front of their old rivals.
Wales haven’t dropped in the rankings as a result of their loss, although the gap has been closed between them and 10th-placed Japan, who could overtake them should they beat Ireland next weekend.
There’s plenty to gain next week for many sides.
While New Zealand are the only team to move upwards in the World Rugby Rankings after this weekend’s action, as the only other game between Scotland and Tonga resulted in no change, there is plenty of room for movement next week.
As stated previously, Japan could overtake Wales with a win against Ireland, while the Irish could fall as many as two places should results elsewhere also go against them.
Wales could go as high as seventh should they claim an upset victory against reigning world champions South Africa, while the Springboks would have to beat the Welsh by 16 points or more to retake top spot, assuming New Zealand beat Italy.
Should results go as expected there will be no changes to the top 15 in the official rankings next week, although the northern hemisphere sides certainly have more to gain this autumn in matches against top three ranked sides New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.
A bit of hot potato
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) October 31, 2021
Check out the Top 15 sides in the World Rugby Rankings below.
1. New Zealand (+1) – 91.36
2. South Africa (-1) – 91.13
3. Australia (N/C) – 87.51
4. England (N/C) – 85.44
5. Ireland (N/C) – 84.85
6. France (N/C) – 83.87
7. Scotland (N/C) – 82.02
8. Argentina (N/C) – 80.69
9. Wales (N/C) – 80.20
10. Japan (N/C) – 79.13
11. Fiji (N/C) – 76.87
12. Georgia (N/C) – 73.73
13. Samoa (N/C) – 71.88
14. Italy (N/C) – 70.65
15. Tonga (N/C) – 70.28