The IRB released their new world rankings a short time ago. There are 39 changes – 20 teams falling and 19 teams on the rise.
Australia’s loss to sixth-placed England at the weekend sees them fall out of the top three for the first time since June 2008. They are now just ahead of fifth-placed Ireland, with both teams due to meet at the weekend.
Australia’s place in the top three is taken by France, who move up for the first time since October 2007.
New Zealand stay at number one, almost two points clear of South Africa, who themselves are over four points clear of the French.
Scotland’s win over Argentina sees the two teams swap places.
The Scots are now in 7th place, while the Pumas have fallen to 9th. The Welsh are currently a point ahead of the South Americans in 8th place, but now that France have moved into 3rd place, a win for the Pumas over the French next weekend could see them move up again.
Further down the table, Japan have moved up to 12th place. The Cherry Blossoms recent good form took a knock in the Pacific Nations Cup when they were well beaten by 10th placed Fiji.
However, John Kirwan’s team went on to shock hosts Samoa for their first win over the Islanders since 1999, and the teams swap places, with Samoa now in 13th.
Samoa now face Fiji in the Cup, while Japan will want to beat 16th placed Tonga to secure their place behind Kirwan’s old team, Italy, who hold the 11th spot.
I’m sure it gives French supporters little comfort to be in 3rd place after the team’s bruising loss to South Africa, but they are now reaping the cumulative rewards of a Six Nations Grand slam, and earlier wins over the higher placed Boks and All Blacks.
It may seem hard on Australia to fall out of the top three after a one point loss to England, especially since they beat them the week before and retained the Cook Cup.
However, their status was somewhat undermined during the Grand Slam tour, with the loss to Scotland, who ranked several places below the Wallabies.