Boks stay third in rankings

Peter de Villiers (File)
Peter de Villiers (File)
Dublin - Tonga received a timely boost as they count down to their Rugby World Cup 2011 opening match against New Zealand on September 9 with a three-place rise to 12th in the IRB World Rankings on the back of their 32-20 victory over Fiji in Lautoka.

According to the IRB website, for Tonga, who beat Fiji 45-21 during the IRB Pacific Nations Cup in July, the climb means they equal their highest ever standing since the IRB World Rankings were introduced in October 2003.

Tonga are not the only nation on the rise in the latest rankings with Wales and Scotland both climbing one place as a result of RWC 2011 warm-up victories over Argentina and Italy respectively on Saturday.

Wales followed up their victory over England last weekend with a 28-13 success against Argentina at the Millennium Stadium to climb above Ireland into sixth spot, the Irish slipping down after losing 26-22 to France.

Ireland have now slipped three places in the last three weeks after losses to Scotland and France, the latter home and away, and unless the men in green can beat England in Dublin next weekend with arrive at RWC 2011 on the back of four defeats.

France remain the leading northern hemisphere nation in fourth, now slightly further behind South Africa after the Springboks picked up their first win of 2011 by defeating a New Zealand outfit 18-5 in their Tri-Nations encounter in Port Elizabeth.

South Africa remain 2.05 points adrift of Australia in second, while New Zealand’s defeat has seen their advantage over the Wallabies reduced to 3.89 points ahead of their Tri-Nations title decider in Brisbane this weekend.

Top 20 in the latest IRB rankings:
1. New Zealand 91.64
2. Australia 87.75
3. South Africa 85.70
4. France 83.79
5. England 81.82
6. Wales 80.79
7. Ireland 79.57
8. Scotland 78.83
9. Argentina 78.40
10. Samoa 74.55
11. Italy 73.88
12. Tonga 72.49
13. Japan 71.96
14. Canada 71.56
15. Fiji 70.83
16. Georgia 70.30
17. Romania 65.69
18. USA 65.00
19. Russia 61.93
20. Namibia 61.43
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Having lost the first Test against the British & Irish Lions, can the Springboks recover to win the series?
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