Gap closes on All Blacks in world rankings

By Alex McLeod

Ireland's shock win over the All Blacks has shrunk the gap between the All Blacks and the rest of the world in the latest World Rugby rankings. Photo / Photosport
Ireland's shock win over the All Blacks has shrunk the gap between the All Blacks and the rest of the world in the latest World Rugby rankings. Photo / Photosport

The All Blacks' first ever loss to Ireland in Chicago on Sunday morning (NZT) has resulted in a loss of two tally points in the updated World Rugby rankings released yesterday, closing the gap between the reigning world champions and the rest of the world.

Currently sitting on a tally of 94.57 points, the All Blacks have dropped from 96.57 points following their 40-29 defeat at the hands of the Irish for the first time in their 111-year history with one another.

The loss sees the gap between them and England, the second-ranked side in the world, shrink to 5.08 points, with the English points tally not changing as a result of them playing no matches since their series whitewash over the Wallabies in Australia back in June.

The current margin between the All Blacks and England is the closest any nation has come to the All Blacks since the Wallabies finished runners up to the Kiwis at last year's World Cup, which saw less than a two point deficit between the trans-Tasman rivals on the points tally.

The big winners of the updated rankings are Ireland and Argentina, who have both reaped the benefits of wins over the All Blacks and Japan.

Ireland's historic win in Chicago over the weekend results in them gaining two points, leaving them with a total of 83.67, which sees them overtake Wales as the fifth-ranked side in the world.

It is the highest they have placed on the world rankings since the 12th of October last year, one week before they were knocked out of the Rugby World Cup in the quarter finals by Argentina, where they were ranked third in the world.

The Argentineans 54-20 win over Japan in Tokyo on the weekend saw the Pumas jump three places in the rankings, making them one of the largest movers in the updated standings.

Previously sitting in ninth on a tally of 80.31, the South Americans leapfrogged France, Scotland and Wales to put themselves in sixth place, with a tally of 81.46 points.

The big losers in the updated rankings are the three sides Argentina overtook, with Wales in particular suffering significantly.

Previously sitting in fifth-place with a tally of 82.49 points, a hefty 32-8 defeat at the hands of the Wallabies in Cardiff on the weekend sees them drop two places to seventh with 80.97 points.

As a result of not having played over the weekend, France and Scotland neither lost or gained any points, but both fell victim to Argentina's success against Japan, which saw both sides fall one place each to eighth and ninth on the rankings respectively.

Both teams will have a chance to redeem themselves this weekend, with France taking on the 14th-ranked Samoa in Toulouse, while Scotland host the third-ranked Wallabies in Edinburgh.

Outside of the top ten sides, the largest climber in the updated rankings are the Netherlands, who move up five places to rank as the 30th best side in the world with a tally of 53.97 points.

On the flip side, the biggest fallers in the new rankings are European minnows Ukraine and Croatia, as both sides dropped five places rank 33rd and 56th in the world respectively.

According to World Rugby, the World Rugby rankings are calculated using a 'Points Exchange System', where sides gain or lose points based on the result of the match. Other criteria that is taken into account when calculating the rankings includes the relative strength of each side, the margin of victory and an allowance for home advantage.

With a total of 18 of the top 20 sides in the world partaking in test matches across Europe this weekend, there is plenty of opportunity for the rankings to be further altered when the next set of updated rankings are released next Monday.

Updated World Rugby Rankings - 7 November

1 - New Zealand (94.57 points)
2 - England (89.49)
3 - Australia (86.86)
4 - South Africa (84.85)
5 - Ireland (83.67)
6 - Argentina (81.46)
7 - Wales (80.97)
8 - France (80.75)
9 - Scotland (80.44)
10 - Fiji (75.49)

- NZ Herald

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