Landmark: Hitoshi Ono won a Japan record 82nd Test cap in the victory against Samoa. Photo: IRB
Japan stunned Samoa 33-14 last Friday, registering a record seventh straight Test win to strike a psychological blow before they face the Pacific islanders at Rugby World Cup 2015.
The win – their first over Samoa on home soil in 15 years – also lifted the Brave Blossoms up one place in the IRB World Rankings to 12th – their joint highest position since the rankings began. Tonga drop to 13th.
Number One . . . New Zealand All Blacks. Photo: Planet Rugby
New Zealand’s victory over England consolidated their position at the summit of the IRB World Rankings in the latest list released on Monday.
The All Blacks have occupied top spot since 16 November 2009 and for more than 80 per cent of the time since the rankings were introduced in October 2003, and the recent success means they now boast 93.81 ranking points.
This means a slight increase in their cushion over South Africa – pushing it beyond five rating points – after the Springboks ran out 28-0 winners over Scotland on Sunday. This latest win increases South Africa’s advantage over England in third to more than more than three points.
Victory over Wales pushed Samoa into seventh position in the world ranking. Photo: IRB
Samoa bested the ninth spot in world rankings reached by island teams at the end of last year after their win over Wales put them two spots better.
Tonga, Samoa and Fiji have reached the ninth spot on several occasions but the seventh spot Samoa reached elevated them to secure the best possible banding for the Pool Allocation Draw in London on 3 December.
Samoa has been drawn as second seed in Pool B after South Africa which propels them to an almost likely quarterfinalists berth in the 2015 Rugby World Cup in London.
Aussie Kurtley Beale scores a try against Wales last weekend. Australia has cemented their place at Band One after the win. Photo: Planet Rugby
The rankings for the 2015 Rugby World Cup draw have been completed following Saturday’s two internationals.
Wales’ 14-12 loss to Australia sees the Welsh drop into the third band for Monday’s draw, while Argentina move up into the second band as a result.
Wales went into their final Test of the year ranked seventh in the world, but following their defeat to Australia, both Samoa and Argentina will rise above them in the world rankings when they are also published on Monday.