France move above England to fourth in rankings

France’s victory over Australia in Paris has moved them above England and into fourth place in the IRB Rankings which gives them a big boost for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The 33-6 win at the Stade de France on Saturday evening ended a five-match losing sequence against the tourists while lifting the Frenchmen to the coveted fourth spot in the IRB World Rankings.

On 3 December, the rankings will determine the seeding for the 12 directly qualified teams for England 2015. The teams ranked one to four will be kept apart at the pool stage, which makes the battle for a top-four spot especially relevant.

France’s elevation to fourth in the rankings comes at the expense of England, now fifth.

Their dominant 54-12 win over Fiji at Twickenham had no impact on either side’s rating points, as a result of the 10 places and 12.49 rating points separating the two teams.

As the rankings stand after the first weekend of a packed month of internationals, France would avoid New Zealand, South Africa and Australia until at least the quarter-finals.

England’s fate is very much in their own hands, with Australia, South Africa and New Zealand coming up over consecutive weekends before the Pool Allocation Draw in London.

Australia, meanwhile, drop from second to third in the rankings with the heavy loss in France and are now less than a quarter of a rating point ahead of the French.

More worryingly for coach Robbie Deans is the fact that the Wallabies now have less than a two-point cushion over fifth ranked England, their next opponents, and will be desperate to preserve their top four status.

South Africa profit from the Wallabies’ contrasting fortunes to move to second behind New Zealand.

The Springboks’ 16-12 victory over Ireland boosts their ranking points to 85.50, though the All Blacks are way out in front with 92.91.

South Africa had to work for victory in Dublin on Saturday, going into half time 12-3 down, but they clawed their way back with 13 unanswered points.

The result shunts Ireland down to eighth, their seventh spot taken by Argentina thanks to events in Cardiff.

The Pumas, battle-hardened by some mighty efforts in defeat during The Rugby Championship, overturned Wales 26-12 on their own patch.

Second-half tries by Juan Imhoff and Gonzalo Camacho gave them victory over the Grand Slam winners at the Millennium Stadium for only their second win in Wales – their previous victory being 11 years ago to the day.

Wales, Argentina and Ireland are all in the battle for ranking places five to eight, with Scotland ninth.

Scotland’s failure to record their first-ever victory over New Zealand – the All Blacks triumphing 51-22 – leaves their points unchanged on 77.97, but they are little more than one ranking point behind Ireland.

The Irish risk dropping into the third band of seeds for the England 2015 Pool Allocation Draw.

As they stand, the Pool Allocation Draw seedings would be:

Band 1: New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, France
Band 2: England, Wales, Argentina, Ireland
Band 3: Scotland, Samoa, Italy, Tonga

IRB World Rankings – 12 November 2012
Position (last week) Member Union Rating Point
(1) NEW ZEALAND 92.91
2(3) SOUTH AFRICA 85.50
3(2) AUSTRALIA 84.82
4(5) FRANCE 84.58
5(4) ENGLAND 83.09
6(6) WALES 80.60
7(8) ARGENTINA 80.29
8(7) IRELAND 79.04
9(9) SCOTLAND 77.97
10(10) SAMOA 77.14
11(11) ITALY 76.61
12(12) TONGA 74.22
13(13) CANADA 71.39
14(14) FIJI 70.60

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