New Zealand return to top of rankings

The All Blacks are once again the number one side in the World Rugby Men's Rankings after battling past South Africa in their Pool B opener at Rugby World Cup 2019.

TOKYO, 23 Sep - New Zealand have returned to the top of the World Rugby Men’s Rankings after beating South Africa 23-13 at the International Stadium Yokohama during the opening weekend of matches at Rugby World Cup 2019.

The All Blacks' win, which maintained their proud record as the only nation to win every pool match at rugby’s showpiece event, lifted them above Ireland who kicked off their campaign with a 27-3 defeat of Scotland at the same stadium a day later.

South Africa’s defeat has seen them drop below Wales into fifth with Scotland falling one to eighth after their defeat and France’s nail-biting 23-21 defeat of Argentina at Tokyo Stadium on Saturday.

The final change in the top 10 sees hosts Japan equal their highest ever ranking of ninth. The Brave Blossoms’ 30-10 win over Russia in the opening match did not affect their rating, but Fiji’s 39-21 loss to Australia was enough to drop them below Japan.

VIEW WORLD RANKINGS >>

England’s 35-3 defeat of Tonga in Pool C and Italy’s 47-22 victory over Namibia in Pool B had no impact on the rankings as a result of the rating point difference between the teams.

Argentina remain 11th despite their loss to France, but saw their advantage over below Georgia almost halved. The Lelos play their opening Pool D match against Wales at the City of Toyota Stadium on Monday.

While all eyes were on Japan for the opening weekend of Rugby World Cup 2019, there was one other match which counted towards the rankings played in Africa.

Kenya overcame Zimbabwe 36-14 in the final match of the Victoria Cup 2019 on Saturday to climb two places to 32nd, lifting them above Colombia and Zimbabwe.

Czechia's emphatic 64-0 defeat of Hungary in the opening match of the Rugby Europe Conference 1 North had no impact on the rankings as a result of the 30 places and 10-point difference between the teams before home weighting was factored in.

During RWC 2019, the rankings will update after every match.

RNS kb