Welsh ranking hopes dashed by Australia

(IRB) Monday 2 December 2013
 
 Welsh ranking hopes dashed by Australia
Quade Cooper was in imperious form against Wales

With the northern hemisphere autumn international programme finally drawing to a close, Wales are the only movers in the latest IRB World Rankings, dropping one place to sixth.

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With only three international fixtures over the weekend, the focus was on the pulsating encounter between Wales and the touring Australians at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.

Wales’ ninth successive defeat by the Wallabies means their ranking points total falls 0.79, allowing France, despite having completed their fixtures for the year, to go fifth thanks to an unchanged points total.

Wales began the autumn series in sixth, so while recent results were a missed chance to climb the rankings, they were also an opportunity to consolidate.

Their two wins – against Argentina and Tonga – and two defeats – against South Africa and Australia – largely echoed recent form.

Fitting finale

For Australia, the last match of the autumn tour was a fitting finale to a tour in which the Wallabies got better as they went on.

After sustaining defeat by England in their first match of the tour, the Wallabies have steadily reasserted themselves to finish the trip on a high note.

Beginning the autumn series fourth in the world, the Wallabies lost ground on England after that Cook Cup result.

But as the tourists gained momentum with wins over Italy, Ireland and Scotland, they reclaimed their world No.3 spot from England, where they finish the year behind fellow southern hemisphere heavyweights New Zealand and South Africa.

The two other international fixtures of the weekend do not affect the IRB World Rankings: Fiji’s 43-19 reverse against the Barbarians (because the latter are an invitational side) and the 22-8 win for Cyprus over Austria in European Nations Cup Division 2C (because Cyprus are not full an IRB member union).

The IRB World Rankings are published every Monday at midday UK time.