Ireland climb to second in world as All Blacks slump to lowest-ever ranking

New Zealand have fallen to fourth in the wake of their historic defeat to Ireland.

Sam Cane and his team-mates look on in befuddlement during defeat to Ireland.
Sam Cane and his team-mates look on in befuddlement during defeat to Ireland.

IT’S ALL CHANGE in World Rugby’s men’s rankings in the wake of the weekend’s inter-hemisphere tests, with Ireland’s victory in Dunedin earning them a promotion to second spot as the All Blacks fall to the (relative) indignity of fourth place. 

France, meanwhile, are top of the rankings for the very first time following their 20-15 victory over Japan on Saturday, with Ireland’s maiden Test win away to New Zealand earning them a jump from fourth to second. 

South Africa’s one-point loss at home to Wales sees them slip from top spot to third, while New Zealand’s chastening defeat to Ireland has been made worse by their fall to fourth place. The All Blacks have never been lower than fourth since World Rugby introduced their rankings in 2003. They can climb back up the rankings with victory over Ireland in Wellington next Saturday, but this confirmed drop in status will intensify the pressure on under-fire All Blacks coach Ian Foster. 

England are fifth, with Australia sixth, Scotland seventh, Wales eighth, Argentina ninth and Japan tenth. 

The current rankings also give the draw for next year’s World Cup draw a distinctly lop-sided look, with the world’s top four – France, Ireland, South Africa, and New Zealand – all on the same side of the draw, and all on a collision course in the quarter-finals. 

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Gavin Cooney

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