World Champions Springboks to end year as number one ranked team

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South Africa's Siya Kolisi (centre) lifts the trophy as South Africa win the 2019 Rugby World Cup final match at Yokohama Stadium. (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

Reigning World champions South Africa will end the year as the number one team in the latest World Rugby rankings despite having not played a Test match in more than a year.

FILE PHOTO: South Africa’s Siya Kolisi (centre) lifts the trophy as South Africa win the 2019 Rugby World Cup final match at Yokohama Stadium. (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

The Springboks, whose last match was the Rugby World Cup final win against England in November 2019, currently top the rankings with 94.20 points. South Africa is well ahead of second-placed England, which recently won the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup and has 89.49 points.

Rugby powerhouse New Zealand (88.95) remained in third place despite securing the Rugby Championship, which was rebranded for this year to the Tri-Nations. Shock back-to-back defeats, for the first time in almost a decade, to Australia and Argentina earlier in the tournament saw them lose their grip on second place.

The top 10 is rounded off by France (85.30), Ireland (84.65), Australia (85.08), Scotland (80.82), Argentina (80.31), Wales (79.36) and Japan (79.29).

The next highest-ranked African side is Namibia (24) followed by Kenya (32), Zimbabwe (35) and Tunisia (39).

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