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France win knocks England out of top four

LONDON (AFP) –

France's captain Pascal Pape (L)

France’s captain Pascal Pape (L) gives to instructions during the rugby union test match France vs Australia at the Stade de France on November 10, in Saint-Denis, north of Paris. France’s 33-6 win over Australia on Saturday has seen England drop out of the top four of the International Rugby Board (IRB) world rankings ahead of their clash with the Wallabies this weekend.

France’s 33-6 win over Australia on Saturday has seen England drop out of the top four of the International Rugby Board (IRB) world rankings ahead of their clash with the Wallabies this weekend.

While in most years a drop from fourth to fifth place would be of no great concern, next month’s draw for the 2015 Rugby World Cup has put the spotlight on the IRB standings.

The seedings for the draw, which takes place in London on December 3, will be based on the world rankings.

England, who face Australia, South Africa and world champions New Zealand before the draw, must regain their top four ranking if they are to be among the leading seeds, which should ensure an easier pool in their home tournament.

Ireland dropped to eighth following their 16-12 defeat by South Africa, with Argentina moving up a place into seventh on the back of their 26-12 victory over Wales in Cardiff.

The top four in the world on December 3 will be the seeded teams in each World Cup group, with every pool then allocated one team from the second tier and one from the third.

A failure to secure a top eight place could hamper a side’s hopes of reaching the quarter-finals three years out from the tournament as it would mean they were in a pool with two higher-ranked teams, with only two from each pool going through to the last eight.

If the draw was held now, England, Wales, and Ireland would all be in the second tier of nations along with Argentina.

Ninth-placed Scotland, who lost 51-22 to New Zealand on Sunday, would in the third tier with Samoa, Italy and Tonga.

Leading IRB World Rankings on November 12 (position, (last week’s position), country, rating points):

01 (01) New Zealand 92.91

02 (03) South Africa 85.90

03 (02) Australia 84.82

04 (05) France 84.58

05 (04) England 83.09

06 (06) Wales 80.60

07 (08) Argentina 80.29

08 (07) Ireland 79.04

09 (09) Scotland 77.97

10 (10) Samoa 77.14

11 (11) Italy 76.61

12 (12) Tonga 74.22

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