Australia stay in third place in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings following their 32-23 victory over Japan in Oita, but with an improved rating of 87.51 points.
The reward for winning their fifth consecutive match – their best run since Rugby World Cup 2015 – was just over half a point, meaning that the Wallabies have closed the gap on the All Blacks above them to 3.46 points.
This time, the usually prolific Andrew Kellaway failed to get on the scoresheet for the Wallabies, but that didn’t stop Dave Rennie’s side from crossing the Brave Blossoms’ line on five occasions.
Tom Wright, Jordan Petaia and Taniela Tupou – from a crafty, blindside lineout move – scored in the first half, while Rob Leota finished off a brilliant team try for their fourth, with Connal McInerney adding a fifth and final try late on.
Lomani Lemeki and Ryoto Nakamura scored for Japan in what was their first outing on home soil since Rugby World Cup 2019. The Brave Blossoms remain in 10th place.
Meanwhile, New Zealand chalked up a century of points for the second time this year as they beat USA 104-14 in a fine demonstration of running rugby in Washington DC.
The All Blacks scored 16 tries – with Will Jordan grabbing a hat-trick – as they eclipsed the 102-0 win over Tonga earlier this year.
For USA, Nate Augspurger had the consolation of scoring the Eagles’ first-ever try against the All Blacks.
New Zealand and USA stay in second and 17th place respectively, as no rating points were riding on the outcome due to the large points differential between the teams before kick-off.
Ukraine and Sweden on the up
Four matches also took place in Europe this weekend with wins for Ukraine, Sweden, Denmark and Serbia.
In the Rugby Europe Trophy, outside centre Oleh Kosariev scored a first-half hat-trick for Ukraine as they bounced back from their narrow home defeat to Poland earlier this month, with a thrilling 39-37 win away to Lithuania.
With 1.1 points added to their total, Ukraine leapfrog Czechia and Malta and into 36th place in the rankings. Lithuania fall seven places to 50th.
Dropping down a level, Sweden began their Conference North 1 campaign with a 51-5 win at home to Luxembourg – a result which moves them up two places in the rankings to 52nd.
The Cayman Islands and Guyana move up a place following Luxembourg’s two-place demotion.
In Conference 2 North, Denmark extended their unbeaten run against Norway to eight matches with a 47-0 win in Oslo.
The Danes improved their rating by just over half a point but that wasn’t enough to lift them higher than 71st. Norway drop out of the Top 100.
Serbia’s 37-14 win over Turkey in Conference 2 South had no impact on the rankings.