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World ranking permutations as Boks and All Blacks face off

By Kim Ekin
New Zealand v South Africa – The Rugby Championship

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The Springboks could climb another rung of the World Rugby ranking ladder with a victory over the All Blacks at Ellis Park this weekend.

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The Boks will climb above France into second with victory over New Zealand, while Ian Foster’s side won’t drop any further, even in defeat. New Zealand can fall no lower than fifth even with an emphatic defeat as the Wallabies cannot gain enough points in victory to jump their rivals across the Tasman Sea.

Indeed, the All Blacks have a major carrot in that they will climb back above England if they avoid defeat in South Africa.

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If fact they could even bounce back into third if they win by more than 15 points and would leapfrog their opponents. A win by a smaller margin would still leave South Africa 0.02 rating points better off than their visitors.

It’s more stable a few places below. Los Pumas will remain ninth whatever happens against Australia this weekend. Dave Rennie’s Wallabies cannot gain any places in victory but will drop below Scotland if beaten by more than 15 points to equal their lowest ever ranking of seventh.

For Foster, a win could even save his tenure as All Blacks coach. Foster has been refusing to answer questions on his future this week, even though it is pretty much all the rugby world is talking about right now.

“As a group of selectors, with Joe and I and then the coaches, we went through the same process we’d normally do at selection time,” Foster told media on Thursday after naming his squad.

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“Clearly we’ve made some changes the last few weeks. I think we’ve been working really, really hard to bed those in and so when we look at the squad, we haven’t made wholesale changes but we’ve certainly made some pretty critical ones, we think, to add energy.

“There’s a lot of people who aren’t playing that you could argue deserve a right to play because they’ve been training hard, preparing well but it hasn’t been a start of the year that’s [allows for the team to] rotate a lot. It’s about growing the experience and that’s what we’re doing.”

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