Handre Pollard’s last-gasp conversion in Wellington earned South Africa a 16-16 draw against New Zealand as well as one rating point in the World Rugby Rankings.
Showing nerves of steel, the Springbok fly-half stepped up when needed to coolly add the extras to Herschel Jantjies' try – his third in the first two games of this year’s Rugby Championship.
In a match where both sides were below their attacking best, New Zealand’s points came from a Jack Goodhue try and the boots of Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo’unga, while Jantjies’ dramatic score came after Pollard had kicked three penalties.
By improving their rating to 86.30 points, South Africa overtake England and move into fourth place in the rankings with a gap of just three-hundredths of a point between the sides.
The other Rugby Championship match was another low-scoring affair with Christian Lealiifano marking his return to the test arena after a successful battle against Leukaemia with three penalties and the conversion of Reece Hodge’s first-half try.
Facundo Isa scored a late try for Los Pumas who at least left the Suncorp Stadium with a losing bonus point in a 16-10 defeat.
The Wallabies picked up just under a quarter of a rating point for the victory to cement their position in sixth place in the rankings, while Argentina are still in 10th despite their second narrow defeat in as many weeks.
Japan are unchanged in 11th but with an improved rating of 76.21 points following their 34-21 win over the higher-ranked Fiji in the opening round of the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup in Kamaishi. Fiji hang on to ninth place despite the loss.
Tonga’s 25-17 defeat to Samoa in monsoon-like conditions in Apia cost them 1.13 points and, as a result, they drop down to 14th place with Italy the side to benefit. Samoa remain in 16th place behind the USA who did not get any reward for their 47-19 home win over Canada, also in the Pacific Nations Cup.
In Africa, the latest round of the Victoria Cup brought a clean sweep of away wins for Zimbabwe and Kenya, whole the Ivory Coast were victorious in the West Africa Rugby Series.
Only Zimbabwe, however, were able to improve their position in the rankings with their 31-26 victory against Uganda boosting their points total to 50.54 – enough to take them above Lithuania and into 35th position.
Kenya defeated Zambia 43-23 in Lusaka with Andrew Amonde scoring twice for the Simbas. There were also tries for two other players more readily associated with the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Jacob Ojee and Billy Odhiambo as well as props Curtis Lilako and Griffin Musila and centre Johnstone Munga.
The seven-hundredths of a point gained in victory was not enough to lift Kenya any higher than their present position of 32nd.
The final match of the weekend saw Ivory Coast beat Ghana 22-12 with the sides staying in 43rd and 90th respectively.