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Australia move above England into IRB top three

Ben Mowen's Australian team recovered from a loss to England with three Test wins

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Article Published: Monday 2 December 2013

Australia's ninth consecutive Test victory over Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday moved them back into the Top three on the International Rugby Board Rankings.

Australia's rise back into the top three means that England drop from third to fourth in the rankings but if England have a good Six Nations they could take back their place as Australia won't play again until June.

England only played three internationals in November and missed out on two opportunities over the last two weekends to keep rising up the rankings.

There were only three international fixtures over the weekend but the focus was on the encounter between Wales and the touring Australians in Cardiff.

Wales' ninth successive defeat by the Wallabies means their ranking points total falls 0.79, allowing France, despite having completed their fixtures for the year, to go fifth thanks to an unchanged points total.

Wales began the autumn series in sixth, so while recent results were a missed chance to climb the rankings, they were also an opportunity to consolidate.

Their two wins against Argentina and Tonga and two defeats against South Africa and Australia largely echoed recent form.

For Australia, the last match of the autumn tour was a fitting finale to a tour in which the Wallabies got better as they went on.

After sustaining defeat by England in their first match of the tour, the Wallabies have steadily reasserted themselves to finish the trip on a high note.

Beginning the autumn series fourth in the world, the Wallabies lost ground on England after that Cook Cup result.

But as the tourists gained momentum with wins over Italy, Ireland and Scotland, they reclaimed their world No.3 spot from England, where they finish the year behind fellow southern hemisphere heavyweights New Zealand and South Africa.

The two other international fixtures of the weekend do not affect the IRB World Rankings: Fiji's 43-19 reverse against the Barbarians (because the latter are an invitational side) and the 22-8 win for Cyprus over Austria in European Nations Cup Division 2C (because Cyprus are not full an IRB member union).

IRB World Rankings -
02 December 2013 Position (last week)
Member Union Rating Point
1(1) NEW ZEALAND 93.81
2(2) SOUTH AFRICA 89.34
3(3) AUSTRALIA 86.88
4(4) ENGLAND 85.70
5(6) FRANCE 80.87
6(5) WALES 80.19
7(7) IRELAND 79.33
8(8) SAMOA 77.34
9(9) SCOTLAND 76.56
10(10) ARGENTINA 76.44
11(11) FIJI 74.21
12(12) TONGA 73.21
13(13) ITALY 73.13
14(14) JAPAN 72.06
15(15) CANADA 70.75
16(16) GEORGIA 69.07
17(17) ROMANIA 67.47
18(18) USA 67.41
19(19) RUSSIA 61.14
20(20) URUGUAY 60.77

Rugby Championship Standings
Nation Games Points    
1. Australia 3 3 0 0 85 48 37 1 13
2. New Zealand 3 2 1 0 85 65 20 1 9
3. Argentina 3 1 2 0 64 98 -34 1 5
4. South Africa 3 0 3 0 65 88 -23 2 2
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