AFTER NEARLY A decade at the top of the World Rugby Rankings, New Zealand have been dethroned as the number one ranked side by Warren Gatland’s Wales just five weeks out from the 2019 World Cup.

Although the All Blacks rebounded from last week’s defeat to Australia with a 36-0 Bledisloe Cup victory over the Wallabies on Saturday, Wales’ win over England in Cardiff was enough for the Grand Slam winners to move top of the latest rankings.

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In doing so, Wales become just the fourth nation — after the All Blacks, England and South Africa — to occupy the number one ranking since its introduction in 2003. 

Joe Schmidt’s Ireland remain in third position, while South Africa have overtaken England in fourth place after the Springboks backed up their Rugby Championship success with a 24-18 win over Argentina in Pretoria. 

France trade places with Scotland and move up one to seventh after an emphatic 32-3 win over Gregor Townsend’s side in Nice in which Maxime Medard bagged a brace.

Italy’s record 85-15 win over Russia did not have any effect on the rankings with the sides staying in 13th and 20th respectively.