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All Black world rankings lead cut ahead of November showdown with Ireland

Defeat to South Africa has seen New Zealand’s lead at the summit cut to 2.40 points.

NEW ZEALAND’S FIRST home defeat since July 2017 has seen their lead at the top of the latest World Rugby rankings cut to just 2.40 points ahead of the much-anticipated showdown with Ireland in November.

Steve Hansen’s side were stunned by South Africa in a thrilling Rugby Championship encounter in Wellington on Saturday, with the Springboks jumping up two places to fifth as a result. 

Willie le Roux celebrates at the final whistle South Africa secured a historic win in Wellington. Source: Photosport/Raghavan Venugopal/INPHO

The All Blacks dropped two world rankings points to leave second-placed Ireland within striking distance of the world champions ahead of their visit to the Aviva Stadium on 17 November. 

Hansen’s side now face away trips to face Argentina and South Africa in the concluding rounds of their Rugby Championship campaign, before embarking on their Autumn tour with games against Japan, England, Ireland and Italy.

Joe Schmidt’s Ireland, having won 10 of their 11 Test last season, begin their November schedule with a trip to Chicago to face Italy before welcoming Argentina back to Dublin a week before the All Blacks visit.

The summer Test series win over Australia saw Ireland hit a highest-ever points total of 90.12. 

Meanwhile, Argentina condemned Australia to their lowest-ever ranking of seventh after a 23-19 win over the Wallabies on the Gold Coast.

Michael Cheika’s side dropped two points and are now in seventh position in the latest standings, after just two wins in their last nine Tests.  

Their alarming slide was reinforced by Saturday’s shock defeat — the first victory for the Pumas on Australian soil in 35 years, which left the Wallabies last on the four-team Rugby Championship ladder.

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Ryan Bailey

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