The power rankings this week will be slightly abridged as only six countries took to the pitch during the third week of the November Tests. Expect much more movement over the coming weeks as the Northern and Southern Hemisphere nations clash and we get a good look at where some of these countries stand as we begin to countdown in earnest to Japan 2018.
1 – Australia
The Wallabies top the rankings after smashing Japan within a half in Yokohama. The clash with England at Twickenham is becoming more mouth-watering by the week as Michael Cheika’s troops are playing as well as they have in years. Rugby league convert Marika Koroibete is a star in the making.
2 – New Zealand
The All Blacks beat the Barbarians 31-22, but it was a less than convincing win for the team most would agree is the best in the world. New Zealand have impressive depth all over the park, though questions will be asked about the talent drain at fly-half, especially considering the best No. 10 on the park was a New Zealander playing for the other side.
3 – Barbarians
The Barbarians played very impressively in a narrow defeat to the All Blacks. It cannot be easy to be thrust together as a squad coming from different countries and cultures that all have different ideas on how best to play the game, but the Barbarians bonded quickly and gave New Zealand all they could handle. How Kwagga Smith is not in the Springbok squad is madness.
4 – Maori All Blacks
It was by far the lowest profile game of the weekend, but the Maori All Blacks beat up Canada proving once again that the talent pool in New Zealand is one to be envious of. Scoring seven tries to nil, the visitors put on a show for the locals in Vancouver.
5 – Japan
The Japanese need to learn how to start games with the same energy and enthusiasm they finish them. The Cherry Blossoms were great for 20 minutes against Australia, the only problem was that it was the final quarter of the match when the Wallabies were already way out in front and taking things easy. There is still plenty of work to do before the World Cup if Japan wants a fairytale performance on home soil
6 – Canada
In hindsight, it was probably a bad idea to play a team with the talent of the Maori All Blacks in a venue as nice as BC Place. The closed roof and the artificial turf provided a smooth, fast track for the visitors to display their ability in perfect conditions. If Canada had their time again, they would take this out to the frigid north, though to be fair the result would still be the same.
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