The final round of the Rugby Championship 2018 did not yield any positional changes in the World Rugby Rankings, but champions New Zealand and Australia did improve their ratings after battling back to beat South Africa and Argentina respectively on Saturday.

New Zealand, who had been crowned champions a week earlier after beating Argentina, found themselves trailing 30-13 against the Springboks at Loftus Versfeld but Rieko Ioane's try just after the hour mark gave the All Blacks hope of avoiding a second loss to their Rugby World Cup 2019 Pool B opponents in a row.


However, it took tries from Scott Barrett and Ardie Savea in the last five minutes to give replacement fly-half Richie Mo'unga a conversion to win the match with the final play. Mo'unga made no mistake and the All Blacks breathed a sigh of relief with the 32-30 victory worth just over four tenths of a point in the rankings.

This gain increases their cushion over second-placed Ireland to 2.84 rating points, while South Africa remain fifth but are now only half a point ahead of Scotland.

Australia had to overturn an even bigger deficit to avoid finishing bottom of the Rugby Championship standings after finding themselves trailing an inspired Argentina 31-7 at half-time in Salta.

A first test try for Izack Rodda began the Wallaby fight-back within four minutes of the restart and further tries from Israel Folau, David Pocock and a Dane Haylett-Petty brace ensured the visitors ran out 45-34 winners and held onto seventh place in the rankings with a gain of just over one rating point.

Despite the defeat Argentina remain ninth, albeit now more than a point adrift of France above.