Graham Henry’s New Zealand are now officially the best team in the world according the International Rugby Board rankings.
Former Lions head coach Henry had come under severe criticism following successive loses in the Tri Nations but wins over Australia and South Africa in their last two outings have seen the All Blacks regain the mantle of the world’s best side.
South Africa took top spot following their World Cup triumph last October and, although New Zealand wrestled it back after their opening Tri Nations victory over the Springboks, Peter de Villiers’ men headed the rankings going into last Saturday’s clash between the two sides in Cape Town.
However, a 19-0 victory for the Kiwis ensured it is they who can now claim to be the best in the world, with the remaining southern hemisphere super powers, South Africa and Australia, ranked second and third respectively.
The rest of the top 10 remain as they were, with Argentina currently in fourth position followed by each of the Six Nations sides.
England lead the way in Europe occupying fifth spot, followed by Grand Slam winners Wales and then France, Ireland, Scotland and Italy.
IRB World Rankings:
(Previous ranking in brackets)
1(2) New Zealand 91.21
2(1) South Africa 87.98
3(3) Australia 86.28
4(4) Argentina 83.36
5(5) England 83.16
6(6) Wales 80.12
7(7) France 78.99
8(8) Ireland 77.18
9(9) Scotland 76.92
10(10) Italy 75.57