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IRB World Rankings

Jerome Garces

Jerome Garces

France’s Jérôme Garcès will referee the All Blacks v Springboks Rugby Championship clash in Wellington on Saturday.

Following a weekend of highly debatable referee, assistant referee and TMO decisions, Heyneke Meyer will be hoping Saturday’s crucial clash is free of controversy.

The Springboks’ remaining Rugby Championship matches will be refereed by Wales’ Nigel Owens (v Australia at Newlands on 27 September) and by England’s Wayne Barnes (v New Zealand at Ellis Park on 4 October).

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IRBThere was little change in the International Rugby Board’s rankings after the weekend’s matches, according to the IRB website.

Full IRB World Rankings

New Zealand, who beat England 28-27 in Dunedin to secure the three-match series, remain at the top with 93.81 ratings points.

The Springboks, who beat Wales 38-16 in Durban, stay in 2nd position on 89.34, while Australia – who were 6-0 victors over France in Melbourne – stay in 3rd position (86.92) ahead of England (85.68).

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South AfricaHeyneke MeyerThe Springboks have made South Africans proud in 2013, with 10 wins from 12 Tests, the only blight on their record 2 losses against the world’s No 1 side, the All Blacks from New Zealand. South Africa beat France on the weekend by 19 / 10 at Stade de France in Paris, capping off an undefeated tour.

But let’s put those 2 losses into some perspective… in New Zealand the Springboks were on the wrong side of poor reffereeing by Romain Poite, the French referee in charge of that match, resulting in the fact that the Springboks had to play 48 minutes without Bismarck du Plessis. In those circumstances, the Springboks were still highly competative and probably the most pleasing part was that the Springbok forwards dominated large parts of the game. The Springboks lost that one though, as the slow All Black poison came through for the home side in the end.

In South Africa it was do or die for the Springboks… go out and score 4 tries against the All Blacks and win by more than 7 was the challenge in The Rugby Championship, a tall order indeed! The Springboks managed their 4 tries but once again the slow poison of New Zealand worked in their fafour and they came back from behind in the last quarter to score their fourth and ultimately their fifth try, to also beat the Springboks.

So, well done to the All Blacks… and while we’re at it, well done on an All Black season of 14 wins from 14 Tests, what an enviable record, New Zealand certainly deserve the No 1 world crown at this juncture in time!

The positive side of the coin however for the Springboks is that South Africans, and the world in general, now realistically give the Springboks a chance against the All Blacks in every Test match, even away from home. Having looked at results on the End Of Year Tours by both the Springboks and All Blacks, it can also be argued that the Springboks had a slightly better tour north compared to the All Blacks, specially with the All Blacks only managing a last gasp win against Ireland with a try long after the hooter had sounded for full time on Sunday night. The Springboks also only conceded 1 solitary and fortunate try on the whole of the tour up north, whilst the All Blacks conceded far more.

Looking to the future of Springbok rugby, Heyneke Meyer said after the weekend’s Test against France that Jean de villiers will stay Springbok captain in 2014 and the total message out of the Springbok camp is that the Springboks will now aspire to the No 1 ranking spot in world rugby, from 2014 and thereafter.

That certainly implies that Heyneke Meyer wants to and needs to beat the All Blacks… but it does not stop there, seeing as the Springboks want to go to No 1, notwithstanding  how or what the All Blacks do.

The Springboks certainly have improved their chances in 2013 to aspire to a World Cup win in 2015, in fact they are fast becomming joint favourites with the All Blacks in the race to this title.

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IRBNew ZealandFollowing the Test between South Africa and New Zealand this past weekend, the New Zealand All Blacks have solidified their clasp on the IRD World Test Rankings more, stretching their lead over 2nd placed South Africa to a full 5.19 ranking points.

The Australian Wallabies have also slightly improved their position after their fine win against the Argentinian Pumas over the weekend, leaving them in 4th spot.

World Champions, New Zealand have stretched their lead further by almost a full rating point.

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South AfricaWith the victory by the Springboks over Australia at the weekend, the gap between the Springboks and the All Blacks on the IRB World Rankings has been closed to only 2.7 points.

At the start of last week the points gap was 4.35 and after the match on Saturday only 2.7.

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The Southern Hemisphere tours of the Home nations and Ireland are well and truly over by now with almost all of the players from these teams now able to put their feet up for a bit of rest and recuperation after what has been a very long season.

For what it’s worth I thought it would be interesting to see which team had the best tour.

This could be difficult as each team faced different opponents and some had midweek games while others didn’t. To try and take away any bias and subjectivity we have a look at the results as well as the comparative rankings of the teams according to the IRB.

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With SA Ruby (SARU) in the throngs of considering the appointment of a new Rugby coach for the Springboks, when Peter de Villiers’ contract concludes in December 2011, it might be prudent to look at results in the last 4 years.

The first thing which emerges is that there has been a steady decline in winning percentages over the last 4 years.

During the first 2 years of the reign of Peter de Villiers the winning percentage was an average of 68 % but during the last 2 years of his reign it has dropped to an average of 56.5 % for those 2 years.

It has to be noted that Peter de Villiers inherited a World Cup winning squad, which has now slipped to No 4 in the IRB rankings, below France.

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