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South Africa rise up the World Rankings in time for the 2019 World Cup

Sep 19, 2018
South Africa rise up the World Rankings in time for the 2019 World Cup

South Africa claim 5th spot in the Rugby World Rankings with win over All Blacks

South Africa caused a massive upset over the weekend, defeating the All Blacks 36-34 in Wellington. In an outstanding match filled with plenty of drama, the South Africans were able to hang onto claim their first win on New Zealand soil since 2009.

The win breathed some interest into the Rugby Championship and saw South Africa jump two places, into 5th in the World Rugby rankings.

South African coach Rassie Erasmus placed plenty of pressure on his own side by stating his job could be on the line prior to the match. Before the victory in New Zealand, South Africa were yet to win a Test Match overseas under the new coach.

The All Blacks were able to get out to a fast start against the South Africans, with tries from Jordie Barrett and Aaron Smith catapulting them to a 12-0 lead inside the first 15 minutes of the match.

The visitors were outstanding in their response with tries from winger Aphiwe Dyantyi, hooker Malcolm Marx and full-back Willie le Roux and all converted by Handre Pollard. The South Africans established a 7-point lead at halftime thanks to their superb defensive line, forcing the All Blacks into mistakes.

The Wellington crowd were silenced immediately after the break with Cheslin Kobe crossing for the visitors to stretch the lead to 12 points.

New Zealand were able to respond with tries to Codie Taylor and Ardie Savea leaving the stage set for a tense finish.

South Africa were left on edge in the 67th minute when Willie le Roux received a yellow card for offside close to the try line. The South Africans were able to hang onto with All Blacks stars Damien McKenzie and Beauden Barrett ignoring the opportunity to kick a drop goal, which would have won them the game.

Five-eighth Barrett had an uncharacteristic night against the South Africans with the boot. The normally reliable goal-kicker only converted two tries from six kicks. Barrett was a controversial inclusion in the side at the expense of Crusaders five-eighth Richie Mo'unga. Barrett was also faulted by the New Zealand public for refusing to take a drop-goal attempt in the dying minutes of the match.

The win in New Zealand was the first in South Africa since 2009 and was the All Blacks fourth loss at Westpac Stadium in 18 years. New Zealand are still tipped to win the World Cup but this loss has meant Ireland are hot on their heels and looking to capitalise on any future slip-ups by the All Blacks.

New Zealand’s first home defeat since they lost to the British and Irish Lions in July 2017 saw their lead cut at the top of the World Rugby ranking to 2.40 points.

New Zealand

  • Tries: J Barrett, A Smith, Ioane 2, Taylor, Savea
  • Conversions: B Barrett 2

South Africa

  • Tries: Dyanti 2, Le Roux, Marx, Kolbe
  • Conversions: Pollard 4
  • Penalties: Pollard
  • Yellow Card: Le Roux