World Rankings: Wales, France rise
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Wales and France are the only movers in the top 10 on the world rankings after an action-packed weekend of rugby.
Wales are now a fraction under two points behind Ireland, after moving up to sixth on the back of a hard-fought 24-20 win against Argentina in Cardiff.
Los Pumas drop two places to eighth, falling below France who easily accounted for Samoa in Toulouse, wing Virimi Vakatawa bagging a hat-trick of tries in a 52-8 win.
The All Blacks bounced back from their loss to Ireland in emphatic style, running in 10 tries to beat Italy 68-10 in Rome, but because of the 11-place differential between themselves and the Azzurri no rating points were gained, meaning the world's number one team remain on 94.57 points – a cushion of just under five points following England's 37-21 victory over South Africa at a rain-soaked Twickenham.
Having ended their 10-year winless run against the Springboks, England gained 0.35 of a rating point to move on to 89.84 points.
Australia's victory over Scotland was anything but comfortable. Reflecting the close nature of recent games between the two nations, the Murrayfield encounter swung one way and then the other until Bernard Foley broke Scottish hearts for the second time in just over a year when he converted Tevita Kuridrani's 76th-minute try to snatch a 23-22 victory. After the narrowest of victories, Australia pick up 0.65 of a point to move on to 87.51.
South Africa stay fourth as Ireland, in fifth, did not gain any rating points for their 52-21 win over a Canadian side ranked 18th at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Fielding a much-changed XV from the one that shocked the All Blacks in Chicago the week before, Ireland laboured to a 21-14 lead at half-time, but five second-half tries saw them match the half-century of points they achieved against Canada in Pool D at World Cup 2015.
Scotland, despite the loss to Australia, stay ninth and Fiji, who lost 7-40 to the Barbarians in a non-capped international, make up the top 10.
Japan are knocking on the door, however. The Brave Blossoms bounced back in style from their heavy defeat at the hands of Argentina to end Georgia's seven-match unbeaten home run with a 28-22 win in Tbilisi. Sevens superstar Lomano Lemeki scored a brace of tries to inspire a Japan comeback and hand Jamie Joseph his first win in charge of the team. Consequently, they trade places in the rankings with Japan now 11th and Georgia 12th.