Rankings shake-up after semis
NEWS: There has been a complete reshuffle of the pecking order after the World Cup semifinals.
The reward for England and South Africa reaching their first World Cup finals for 12 years is a climb to one and two in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings respectively.
England’s 19-7 defeat of two-time defending champions New Zealand in the first semifinal at International Stadium Yokohama on Saturday lifted Eddie Jones’ men to the top of the rankings – a position England had last occupied 5 613 days ago in June 2004.
A day later South Africa returned to second spot for the first time since August 2015 on the back of a 19-16 win over Wales to keep their hopes of a third World Cup success alive.
The end of New Zealand’s 18-match winning run in the tournament means the All Blacks have slipped to third, equalling their lowest ever position since the rankings were introduced in October 2003.
They will hope that history repeats itself as they slipped to third after losing their 2003 World Cup semifinal to Australia but bounced back to second a week later with victory in the bronze final.
Wales, meanwhile, fell one place to fourth after missing out on a place in a first World Cup final.