Heroic Pumas fail to secure rankings boost
August 27, 2012
The heroics of Argentina's Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and his team-mates failed to boost their IRB ranking © Getty Images
Argentina may have made history with a 16-16 draw against South Africa in their Rugby Championship in Mendoza on Saturday but it was not enough to improve their place in the IRB World Rankings.
Los Pumas, who had lost their previous 14 meetings with South Africa, celebrated their home debut in the competition with a battling display for a share of the spoils. However, they will be ruing the one that got away after the Springboks recovered from 13-3 down at half-time and tied up the scores when Francois Steyn touched down following a charge-down. A victory would have seen the Pumas climb one place to 7th in the latest rankings and above Ireland.
The result at the Estadio Mundialista Malvinas Argentinas means that Argentina have now achieved at least a draw with each of the southern hemisphere giants. This latest milestone joins their legendary 21-21 draw with the All Blacks in Buenos Aires in 1985 and their four previous victories over Australia in 1979 (their first meeting), 1983, 1987 and 1997.
New Zealand's advantage at the top of the rankings has increased slightly to 6.38 rating points after a 22-0 victory over Australia at Eden Park ensured another successful defence of the Bledisloe Cup.
It was the first time for 50 years that the Wallabies were kept scoreless by their trans-Tasman rivals and their poor run at Eden Park will now stretch into a 27th year without a victory there over the All Blacks.
Australia's only comfort was the fact that South Africa's failure to beat Argentina means they remain second in the rankings, although that position will be at stake when those two sides meet in Perth on 8 September. Argentina now travel to Wellington where they will tackle New Zealand the same day.
The top four sides in the IRB World Rankings following the end of year internationals will be seeded for the 2015 Rugby World Cup and therefore be kept apart in the pool draw on December 3 in London.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton
Kiwi coaches can be found far and wide across the globe, and Murray Mexted believes the All Blacks benefit every bit as much as their rivals
Clermont, Toulon, player burnout, Sam Burgess and a farewell to Adams Park - Monday Maul looks back at the weekend's action