The summer saw the big three from the southern hemisphere record nine wins from nine over England, France, Scotland and Wales. That firmly plants the southern big guns at the top of the tree in the world rankings and leaves the northern teams with ground to make up.
ESPNScrum.com’s Huw Richards breaks the stats down of the North South divide expertly in this piece, and concludes:
The answer to any suggestion that the gap is closing is a reasonably clear 'no'. The southern hemisphere's statistical edge grows still more overwhelming and where South Africa and Australia were once comparatively vulnerable to the stronger European teams, they now usually put them away. South Africa's winning percentages over the three seven-year periods have been consecutively 67, 61 and 87% while Australia have run at 78, 64 and 75%.
So, these rankings take into account the results of the summer and the quality of opposition they were achieved against.