Australia may have reclaimed third place in the IRB World Rankings with victory over Scotland, but if they suffer defeat against Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday then they will relinquish the position to England again.
The Wallabies, who surrendered third place to England after losing to New Zealand at the start of The Rugby Championship in August, currently hold a 0.36 rating point advantage over England going into their final Test of 2013 against fifth ranked Wales.
However, a first loss to Wales since November 2008 – regardless of the margin – will see Australia fall to fourth and end the southern hemisphere dominance of the top three positions in the rankings once more.
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Ewen McKenzie’s side can fall no lower than fourth, though, because even an emphatic victory for Wales on home soil in Cardiff would still leave the two sides separated by 1.48 rating points going into 2014.
If Australia and Wales play out a first draw since a 29-29 stalemate in Cardiff back in 2006 then the two sides will remain exactly where they are in the rankings, the Wallabies in third and the Welsh in fifth.
A ninth successive loss for Wales against a side they will face in the Rugby World Cup 2015 pool stages, though, will prove costly as they will fall one place, losing the place they took from France after last weekend’s matches. They cannot, though, fall any lower than fifth.
The IRB World Rankings update every Monday at 12:00 UK time.
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