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all blacks 2 years on the top



ABs raise two years on top of rankings
27 June 2006 

The All Blacks completed two years on top of the International Rugby Board rankings while the ground under them moved again over the weekend.

New Zealand continue to enjoy a massive lead in the rankings, from France who climbed to second for the first ever time with their upset of South Africa.

The Springboks dropped to third, followed by Australia, Ireland and England, whose positions are unchanged.

The top spot was claimed by the All Blacks when they beat England at Dunedin in June 2004, the first test under coach Graham Henry, and they have kept the top spot since. Four different teams have held down second place in that time.

New Zealand presently sit on 93.32 points, well clear of France's 87.53.

Leading IRB world rankings:

New Zealand 93.32 points 1, France 87.53 2, South Africa 87.18 3, Australia 85.59 4, Ireland 82.01 5, England 79.66 6, Scotland 77.72 7, Argentina 77.49 8, Wales 76.34 9, Samoa 73.39 10, Fiji 72.79 11, Italy 72.11 12. [/b]

All Black's Rule, Unstopable and now with Reuben Thorne in the side, well you just couldn't ask for more, except Paul Miller at Number 8 (well he could play anywhere 1-15)
They do have a habit of peaking in between world cups though don't they.
I just hope we're not peaking too soon. I'm a wee bit scared we are.

I get the feeling that GH is sandbagging a bit. Not showing what his side(s) is/are fully capable of quite yet. He plays his so-called "A" side for a crucial game but then will rest some players for other games.

I expect a relatively inexperienced squad to go north for the autumn tests with lots of fringe players getting their last opportunity to press for a place in GH's world cup plans. This will also rest the key players for what will be a huge upcoming year.

And as from the start of next year that is when his preparations will step up a gear.

What the All Blacks are doing now is good but wait until next year - that is when the real masterplan will be unleashed and as far behind as some other countries are will be even more exposed.

Given that the All Blacks are favourites to win in Auckland and with that result will guarantee that they retain the Tri-nations cup - I would expect some interesting selection choices for the tour of South Africa.