Samoa up to eighth in IRB world rankings
Samoa have been the big movers on the IRB world rankings as the cutoff point approaches for the Rugby World Cup pool allocation draw.
The high-flying Samoans have surged into eighth spot on the IRB's officials rankings list, meaning they will now be part of the second band (fifth to eighth-ranked sides) when the World Cup pools are drawn on December 3 in London.
And Tonga's fabulous upset of Scotland at the weekend has seen the island side surge past the Scots into 11th on the IRB rankings list. The 10th-placed Italians are now in their sights.
This weekend's final two matches in the north (England v NZ and Wales v Australia) will be the official cutoff point for the World Cup draw bands, though the top four cannot be hauled in regardless of what happens.
That means fourth-ranked France will join southern superpowers New Zealand, South Africa and Australia in the top band, with each to be distributed in separate pools for the RWC.
The next four now includes Samoa, who have surged to eighth on the back of a big win over Canada, an upset against Wales in Cardiff and a resolute 22-14 defeat to France at the weekend.
However seventh-ranked Wales, who are hovering dangerously near the cusp of the top eight, still have plenty to play for as they look to halt a six-test losing skid when they host the Wallabies this weekend.
A seventh straight Welsh defeat would see Warren Gatland's side drop outside the top eight and face landing in a potential group of death for 2015,
If Wales avoid defeat against Australia, they will take one of the other two spots in the second band along with Samoa, with Argentina in the third band.
However, if Australia defeat Wales, then Samoa and Argentina will fill these two spots in the second band, with Wales joining Italy, Tonga and Scotland in the third band of seeds for the pool allocation draw.
England and Ireland are guaranteed to be in the second band of seeds.
Provisional IRB world rankings
1 New Zealand - 92.91
2 South Africa - 86.94
3 Australia - 86.31
4 France - 85.07
5 England - 81.07
6 Ireland - 80.22
7 Wales - 78.95
8 Samoa - 78.71
9 Argentina - 78.71
10 Italy - 76.24
11 Tonga - 76.10
12 Scotland - 75.83
Results from weekend matches for the 12 seeded teams for RWC 2015:
Ireland 46 Argentina 24
England 15 South Africa 16
Italy 19 Australia 22
Scotland 15 Tonga 21
France 22 Samoa 14
Wales 10 New Zealand 33