The Springboks will finish 2018 in fifth place on the World Rugby rankings after their 20-11 loss to Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.
South Africa’s fourth successive loss to Wales resulted in a 0.54 deduction from 85.12 to 84.58. Wales received 0.54 of a point and are now on 87.24 ranking points.
The gap between the Boks and fourth-placed England, who beat the Wallabies 37-18, increased to 1.64 rating points.
Australia’s loss at Twickenham cost them 0.68 of a point, but they remain in sixth position.
In the bottom half of the top 10, Fiji have jumped two places from 10th to eighth on the list following their stirring 21-14 triumph over France. Les Bleus and Argentina have dropped one place each, to ninth and 10th respectively.
Outside the top 10, America and Georgia have moved above Tonga and Italy.
World Rugby rankings (Top 10):
1. New Zealand 92.54
2. Ireland 91.17
3. Wales 87.24
4. England 86.22
5. South Africa 84.58
6. Australia 82.40
7. Scotland 81.84
8. Fiji 77.95
9. France 77.33
10. Argentina 77.05
Photo: Marty Melville/AFP Photo