November 20, 2012
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Samoa steal rankings march ahead of WCup draw

Samoa's defeat of Wales has shaken up the International Rugby Board (IRB) rankings with just two weeks until the standings are used to determine pool allocations in the 2015 Rugby World Cup draw.

The top four in the world on December 3 will be the seeded teams in each group for the 2015 World Cup in England.

Every pool will also be allocated one team from the second tier (teams five to eight) and one from the third (teams nine to 12).

Samoa's 26-19 victory over Six Nations champions Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Friday lifts them one place to ninth and just 0.16 rating points away from a place in the second band of seeds for the World Cup.

Wales, who've lost their last five Tests, are now in danger of missing out on the second tier after falling from sixth to eighth place, with tough Tests against world champions New Zealand and Australia before the draw takes place.

Dropping into the third band could do immense harm to 2011 semi-finalists Wales' chances at the next World Cup, even three years out from the event, as it would mean they would face two higher-ranked sides in their pool with only two going through to the quarter-finals.

Samoa now travel to France -- the only northern hemisphere team in the top 12 to beat a touring side last weekend -- knowing another upset could see them climb up the rankings and condemn Wales or Ireland to a band three spot.

France, last year's losing World Cup finalists, remained fourth following their 39-22 victory over Argentina, who climbed to sixth place, in Lille.

England remained fifth after a 20-14 loss to Australia kept them outside the top four ahead of this weekend's Twickenham Test against South Africa, which will be followed by the visit of the All Blacks.

Scotland's 21-10 defeat by the Springboks saw them fall into 10th place.

New Zealand, South Africa and Australia continued to occupy the top three spots, with the Wallabies playing 11th-placed Italy in Florence on Saturday.

Leading IRB world rankings as at November 19 (ranking (last week's ranking), country, points):

01 (01) New Zealand 92.91

02 (02) South Africa 86.05

03 (03) Australia 85.94

04 (04) France 84.99

05 (05) England 81.96

06 (07) Argentina 79.89

07 (08) Ireland 79.04

08 (06) Wales 78.95

09 (10) Samoa 78.79

10 (09) Scotland 77.42

11 (11) Italy 76.61

12 (12) Tonga 74.51


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