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All Blacks could reclaim World No.1 spot in Cardiff

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

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The All Blacks will reclaim the world No.1 spot in the World Rugby Rankings should they beat Wales in Cardiff this weekend.

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New Zealand will return to the number one spot that they held briefly in September before South Africa claimed it back on 2 October. Ian Foster’s side cannot slip from second place even with a heavy defeat as they would still have at least a 0.85-point cushion over Australia in third.

The All Blacks have dominated the ranking since their inception back in 2003, with just a handful of teams being able to lay claim to the No.1 spot over the course of the proceeding 18 years.

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The Springboks have held the crown since winning the Rugby World Cup in 2019, with the exception of a single week back in September.

While many are not giving a depleted Wales much of a chance against the All Blacks, head coach Ian Foster has refused to write off his opposition.

“They are Six Nations champions, you don’t do that by not having depth,” said the 56-year-old. “They’ve clearly got a few players that haven’t been released from clubs but that was always going to happen, so it’s not like that’s a surprise.

“A few of the media are focusing on that two or three days before the Test but look it’s nothing new.”

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For their part, Wales cannot fall from ninth place if they suffer a 32nd consecutive loss to the men in black and will climb two places to seventh if they end a 68-year wait for victory over the New Zealanders, leapfrogging a victorious Scotland and Argentina.

A draw would be enough to lift Wayne Pivac’s men one place, two if Scotland also draw with Tonga, say World Rugby.

Scotland cannot improve their rating with victory over Tonga due to the 13.45 rating points between the teams before home weighting is factored in Scotland will drop two places to ninth in defeat, even if Wales are also beaten by New Zealand Tonga must win by more than 15 points to climb above Italy into 14th.

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