South Africa loses top spot in World Rugby rankings after Australia defeats

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 18: Marika Koroibete of the Wallabies charges forward during The Rugby Championship match between the Australian Wallabies and the South Africa Springboks at Suncorp Stadium on September 18, 2021 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Reigning world champions South Africa slipped down one spot to second place in the latest World Rugby rankings following consecutive defeats to Australia in the Rugby Championship.

The Springboks suffered two shock defeats to Australia 28-26 on the Gold Coast and 30-17 in Brisbane in consecutive weekends snapping a four-game winning streak.

Marika Koroibete of the Wallabies charges forward during The Rugby Championship match between the Australian Wallabies and the South Africa Springboks at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia. /Getty Images

The two defeats allowed South Africa’s great rivals New Zealand to jump to the top of the rankings on 91.15 points while the Springboks have 90.95. The two sides are set to meet in back-to-back games over the coming weekends to conclude the Rugby Championship.

South Africa had risen to the top of the world rankings after their 32-12 defeat of England in the Rugby World Cup final in November 2019 and stayed there despite barely playing any competitive matches, especially after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the teams around them.

As for New Zealand, this is the first time since October 2019 that they are leading the rankings.

Australia, on the other hand, are up to third for the first time since June 2018 after completing back-to-back wins against South Africa.