There were no surprises over the weekend’s 10 Nations matches, with all games going to the favourites, despite a few scorelines being perhaps different than expected.
Rankings in the top three remain constant however below this change is afoot.
Big movers Australia gain huge benefit, with a dominant performance against Italy gaining them a sufficient differential boost to reverse the outcome of their simulated match against Samoa while holding off the French who, with a relatively good result against New Zealand, might otherwise have managed to overturn their own simulated result with the Aussies.
In the end Australia received a nine point jump up the table for their efforts to fifth, with five points for the real world win and four for the overturned simulated result.
Wales still hold on to fourth with the one point from their real world loss to South Africa and a superior points adjusted differential enough to keep the Australians below them – for now.
They both join England in a three-way battle for third with the Welsh and Aussies needing to win both their remaining matches to finish on equal points and take it to differentials.
England have their toughest challenge coming up in a fired-up New Zealand looking to prove a point after their loss last year at Twickenham.
Victory to the English would strike a huge blow to New Zealand’s chances of finishing number one and put South Africa’s destiny in their own hands.
More importantly, it would seal England third position outright, highly desirable with the chasing Welsh currently holding a superior adjusted differential.
It all points to the final match of the tournament in Cardiff deciding positions three through five in a thrilling finale.
The current points table is below and full details of fixtures and tournament structure can be found on the 10 Nations website.
South Africa 38
New Zealand 37