South Africa’s crushing defeat of Australia on Saturday brought a double-bonus for under-fire coach Peter de Villiers.
As well as ensuring the Springboks finished their Tri Nations campaign in style, the record-breaking eight-try victory saw the World Champions move up to second place in the IRB World Rankings.
Having led the standings after their World Cup triumph last October, the Boks had fallen to third place after disappointing double-defeats to both the Wallabies and the All Blacks.
South Africa have now overtaken their Australian counterparts, although they still lie a considerable distance behind world leaders New Zealand.
England lead the way as far as the Home Unions are concerned, with Martin Johnson’s men occupying fifth place, just behind Argentina.
Wales lie sixth, Ireland eighth and Scotland ninth.
IRB World Rankings (top 10):
1 New Zealand 91.21
2 Springboks 87.75
3 Australia 86.52
4 Argentina 83.36
5 England 83.16
6 Wales 80.12
7 France 78.99
8 Ireland 77.18
9 Scotland 76.92
10 Italy 75.57