All Blacks cut Boks’ lead as 100th Test draws closer

The All Blacks have cut South Africa’s lead at the top of the World Rugby Men’s Rankings by just over one ratings point after completing a clean sweep of Bledisloe Cup victories over Australia in Perth this past Sunday.

Ian Foster’s side ruthlessly punished Australian mistakes to run out 38-21 winners and claim maximum points in the Rugby Championship encounter.

Not even a 28th-minute red card to Jordie Barrett could halt the irrepressible All Blacks, who were down to 14 men before being allowed a replacement 20 minutes later under the global law trials.

Barrett had already scored at that point and was joined on the scoresheet by in-form centre David Havili’i on the stroke of half time.

Beauden Barrett kicked two penalties and a conversion as the All Blacks led 18-0 at the break.

The All Blacks added four more tries in a riotous second half through Will Jordan, Havili’i again, Anton Lienert-Brown and George Bridge, while the battling Wallabies bagged three tries, Folau Fainga’a, Nic White and Tom Banks giving the scoreline a semblance of respectability.

Australia drop back below Argentina and into seventh position in the rankings as a result of their latest defeat by the All Blacks, while New Zealand’s victory came with a gain of 1.03 ratings points, meaning the gap between themselves and South Africa is now down to 4.17 points.

New Zealand will face the Springboks in the 100th Test between the two teams on 25 September in Townsville, Queensland.

World Rugby Rankings (Top 10):

1. South Africa (94.49 points)
2. New Zealand (90.31)
3. England (85.44)
4. Ireland (84.85)
5. France (83.87)
6. Argentina (82.86)
7. Australia (82.11)
8. Scotland (82.02)
9. Wales (80.59)
10. Japan (79.13)

Full rankings

Photo: Getty Images

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Dylan Jack