Boks leapfrog Wallabies
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. That defeat has also 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 host Argentina in Paris on Saturday while England welcome 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.
A comprehensive 42-12 victory over Canada in the IRB International Rugby Series in Colwyn Bay on Friday consolidated Samoa's position in 10th, while the USA (17th) notched a 40-26 away win over Russia to send them down one place to 20th.
Japan's 34-23 win over Romania in Bucharest, meanwhile, lifts them one place to 15th.
1 New Zealand 92.91
2 South Africa 85.50
3 Australia 84.82
4 France 84.58
5 England 83.09
6 Wales 80.60
7 Argentina 80.29
8 Ireland 79.04
9 Scotland 77.97
10 Samoa 77.14
11 Italy 76.61
12 Tonga 74.22
13 Canada 71.39
14 Fiji 70.60
15 Japan 68.89
16 Georgia 67.95
17 USA 67.15
18 Romania 63.58
19 Spain 61.63
20 Russia 61.51
As was the case for the RWC 2011 draw, the 2015 draw will include the 12 directly qualified teams (the top three teams in each RWC 2011 pool). Those teams will be split into three bands according to their position in the IRB World Rankings as of 12 midday (GMT) on December 3.
If the draw happened today:
Band 1: New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, France (currently 1-4 in IRB World Rankings)
Band 2: England, Wales, Argentina, Ireland (currently 5-8 in IRB World Rankings)
Band 3: Scotland, Samoa, Italy, Tonga (remaining four automatically qualified teams in order of rankings position)
The eight qualifying places will be allocated into the other two bands as follows:
Band 4: Oceania 1, Europe 1, Asia 1, Americas 1
Band 5: Africa 1, Europe 2, Americas 2, Repechage winner
Please note that the impact on the rankings can only be predicted for one round of matches at a time. The impact of future results cannot predicted until the week of those matches.
With thanks to the IRB