NZ-SA ranking gap grows

Jean de Villiers and Ma'a Nonu (Getty Images)
Jean de Villiers and Ma'a Nonu (Getty Images)
Cape Town - New Zealand have strengthened their position as the No 1 side in the IRB world rankings after beating nearest challengers South Africa 29-15 at Eden Park on Saturday to remain unbeaten in the 2013 Rugby Championship.

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The All Blacks, who have occupied top spot in the rankings for the last 46 months, have increased their rating by just over three tenths to 92.07 and now have a 3.56 point cushion over South Africa with two rounds of the Rugby Championship remaining, according to the IRB website.

Even on the back of their first defeat of 2013, South Africa still sit nearly three rating points above the leading northern hemisphere team, England in third with Australia a further two points adrift in fourth.

Australia hung on to beat Argentina 14-13 in the weekend’s other Rugby Championship encounter in Perth to record their first win under new coach Ewen McKenzie. However, the victory on home soil had no impact on the rankings with Argentina remaining in 10th.

The Rugby Championship continues on September 28 when South Africa host Australia in Cape Town and New Zealand travel to La Plata to face Argentina.

Top 10 in the latest IRB rankings:

1. New Zealand 92.07
2. South Africa 88.51
3. England 85.76
4. Australia 83.67
5. France 81.59
6. Wales 81.36
7. Samoa 80.42
8. Ireland 79.58
9. Scotland 76.95
10. Argentina 76.41
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