Victory over Australia combined with a defeat for South Africa at the hands of Argentina would not only guarantee the All Blacks the Rugby Championship 2022 title but also third place in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings powered by Capgemini.
The All Blacks go into their match in Saturday’s sold-out double-header at Eden Park one place and 1.78 points behind South Africa, but with the Springboks standing to lose two points if beaten by Argentina on home soil in Durban, the sides will swap places. A fall to fifth is possible for both sides depending on how the matches pan out.
South Africa cannot climb any higher than their current position of third even if they sign off with a handsome win against Los Pumas as France and Ireland, the two teams above them, have too many points in hand for them to be caught. New Zealand would drop down a place to fifth in defeat.
Meanwhile, it is possible for both Australia and Argentina to climb up to sixth place if they manage to finish this season’s campaign on a high by shocking their respective hosts.
Having sunk to an all-time low of ninth following last weekend’s heart-breaking Bledisloe Cup defeat, Australia can gain three places if they beat the All Blacks by over 15 points and Argentina fail to do likewise against the Springboks.
Argentina will take sixth place, however, if they beat the Springboks and Australia fail to register a win against the All Blacks.
Only one draw has ever occurred in 33 previous meetings between South Africa and Argentina but another would be sufficient for Los Pumas to climb above Scotland and Wales.