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A rare double occurred this past weekend, when both Australia and Argentina scored surprising upsets over New Zealand and South Africa in the 2015 abbreviated Rugby Championship. The Wallabies achieved their first victory over the All Blacks since 2011, winning 27-19. The result advanced the Aussies into first place in the annual championship, and sent encouraging signs to their fans about Rugby World Cup prospects, after a 2014 autumn European test tour marred by losses. These rivals will meet again in the traditional Bledisloe Cup, which the All-Blacks have won for the past thirteen-years.
Perhaps more startling was Argentina’s decisive win 37-25 against South Africa, their first victory over any of the three southern hemisphere powerhouses (winners of six of seven Rugby World Cup titles). The Pumas now stand 1-1-18 in this competition, not finishing on the bottom for the first time. Argentina led 27-13 at half and played even in the second half as the Springboks could not overcome the deficit.
World Rugby quickly dropped South Africa to fifth in world standing, their lowest ranking in many years. Ireland climbed to second place on the strength of their convincing win over Wales.
The Top Five Ranked Rugby Nations
- New Zealand
- South Africa
For the top tier XVs, the All Blacks’ rare loss gave hope again that in the forthcoming Rugby World Cup (September 18, England vs. Fiji), New Zealand can be beaten.