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Aussie peso strengthens but England sets the gold standard

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"We've got three dollars to the pound," used to be one of the songs favoured by England's Barmy Army cricket fans on their tours to Australia. The slur on Australia's sliding currency, sometimes dubbed the Aussie peso, was one of the few ways they could get back at their hosts, who regularly thrashed them on the field.

The Aussie dollar is claiming back lost ground but against a rise in English sporting stock. For Sydney has just seen a rare breed of Englishman emerge - a world champion sports team. But though Sydneysiders may be crying into their fizzy beer after witnessing England carry off the Rugby World Cup, they can take some consolation from the new piles of cash in their bank accounts.

The price of glory The state government of New South Wales said the six-week event attracted 100,000 visitors and generated A$350 million (US$254 million) for its economy. Much of that would have come from the tens of thousands of English fans who invaded the city for the final week of the tournament desperate to see England beat Australia - at any price.

While the government slapped a room rate cap on Sydney's hoteliers for the Olympics in 2000, there was no such restriction this time around and with the cash-rich Poms in town, the gloves were off.

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