(AAP) – Rankings matter little when preparing for a World Cup, but Australia falling to number six in the latest world rugby rankings is just another small reminder of the huge task facing the Wallabies this year.
World Rugby released their updated rankings on Monday (Fiji time early Tuesday), with the only change in the top 10 Wales rising above the Wallabies to No 5. The All Blacks remained world No 1.
Despite the Wallabies winning their last 10 matches against Wales, the European team’s Six Nations victory over Ireland last Saturday in Cardiff helped Warren Gatland’s side edge ahead.
Also contributing to the fall was Australia’s dismal record in 2014.
Just two wins in the Rugby Championship – including losing to Argentina in Mendoza – was followed by a spring tour when Bernard Foley’s late drop goal in their triumph over Wales in November preceded defeats to France, Ireland and England.
Australia face a tough battle just to get to the knockout phase of the RWC in October given they’ve been drawn in the same pool as Wales and world No 4 England.
Fiji (No 12) and Uruguay (No 20) round out Pool A of the tournament to be played in England, starting in September.
World Rugby rankings: Top 10
1. New Zealand
2. South Africa