New Zealand's lead reduced at top of rankings
New Zealand’s failure to equal their mark of 17 consecutive Test wins following the 18-18 draw with Australia in Brisbane on Saturday means their cushion at the top of the IRB World Rankings has shrunk by nearly a rating point.
However, the All Blacks, who can still better their 23-Test unbeaten run set between 1987 and 1990, still sit 6.54 rating points above the Wallabies as both teams now turn their attentions to the traditional November internationals in Europe.
By improving their own rating by 0.45, the Wallabies have also increased their advantage over third ranked South Africa and now sit 3.34 points above France in the battle to remain in the top four spots come the RWC 2015 Pool Allocation Draw in London on 3 December.
While the final Bledisloe Cup match of 2012 did not result in any positional changes to the latest rankings, the weekend’s three matches in the European Nations Cup 2014 did with two winners in Bulgaria and Ukraine on the rise.
The European Nations Cup 2014 doubles as the regional qualifying process for Rugby World Cup 2015 and the only match not to impact the rankings was Norway’s 32-3 win over bottom side Finland in Division 2D as a consequence of more than eight rating points between the rivals.
Bulgaria are the biggest movers of the last seven days after bouncing back from their loss to Hungary in Europe’s first RWC 2015 qualifier a fortnight earlier to beat Austria 12-7 in Division 2D, a win that lifts them two places to 80th with Slovenia and Hungary slipping as a result.
Austria also fall one place to 86th with the defeat in Sofia with Tahiti the beneficiaries.
Ukraine’s 22-10 away victory in Sweden means they climb one place to 29th, swapping places with Zimbabwe. Sweden fall one to 39th after losing the first ENC 2014 Division 1B match for both sides with Kenya assuming their place.
The road to Rugby World Cup 2015 continues this weekend with five matches in Europe and the latest step on the Americas pathway with Brazil hosting Paraguay in Sao Paulo.