France Moves Into Top Four at England’s Expense :: 12 Nov 17:18

France’s resounding victory over Australia was more than mere payback for a run of defeats stretching back to 2005; it has also given Les Bleus a head start in the race to Rugby World Cup 2015.

The 33-6 win at Stade de France on Saturday evening ended a five-match losing sequence against the tourists and lifts the Frenchmen to the coveted fourth spot in the IRB World Rankings. For its part, that defeat has cost Australia one place on the rankings as the Wallabies fall below South Africa into third position.

On 3 December, the rankings will determine the seedings 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.

England is the team to suffer most from France’s win as it falls out of the top four. Stuart Lancaster’s men were convincing in their victory over Fiji but did not benefit on the rankings table due to the sizable gap that exists between the two teams. Victory over teams ranked lower on the table are not as valuable as those against relatively stronger sides.

With plenty more international action coming up over the coming weeks, there will be ample opportunity for teams to make improvements on the IRB World Rankings table. France hosts Argentina in Paris on Saturday while England welcomes Australia to Twickenham on the same day.

Further down the rankings, Ireland slipped one place to eighth after losing to South Africa in Dublin while Argentina made the most of beating Wales in Cardiff by progressing one place to seventh.