New Zealand remained top of the International Rugby Board’s rankings ahead of Monday’s pool draw for the 2015 World Cup in England despite ending this year with a stunning 38-21 defeat by England.
Saturday’s Twickenham trouncing was not enough to knock the reigning world champions off the summit and nor was it sufficient for fifth-placed England to break into the top four of the standings.
Meanwhile, Wales’s 14-12 loss to Australia in Cardiff dropped them into ninth place and the third tier of seeds.
This could potentially hamper the chances of Wales, semi-finalists at last year’s World Cup in New Zealand, reaching the knockout stages in three years’ time as they will now face two currently higher-ranked sides in their pool, with only two going through to the quarter-finals.
Wales had to beat Australia on Saturday to avoid slipping from seventh place and they were on course for that victory at 12-9 ahead until Kurtley Beale’s try with just 20 seconds left on the clock at the Millennium Stadium rescued a 14-12 win for the Wallabies.
Defeat dropped Wales below Samoa and Argentina in the IRB standings.
World Cup pool draw bands:
Band 1: New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, France
Band 2: England, Ireland, Samoa, Argentina
Band 3: Wales, Italy, Tonga, Scotland
IRB rankings after Saturday’s matches: (position, country, ranking points):
1 New Zealand 90.08
2 South Africa 86.94
3 Australia 86.87
4 France 85.07
5 England 83.90
6 Ireland 80.22
7 Samoa 78.71
8 Argentina 78.71
9 Wales 78.39
10 Italy 76.24
11 Tonga 76.10
12 Scotland 75.83