France break into world's top three
October 17, 2011
France head coach Marc Lievremont has seen his under-fire side rise to third in the IRB World Rankings © Getty Images
France have climbed to third in the International Rugby Board (IRB) World Rankings on the back of their progression to Sunday's World Cup final.
Les Bleus had slumped to eighth place after their shock defeat by Tonga at the end of the pool stages but successive victories over England and Wales have seen Marc Lievremont's much-maligned side break the southern hemisphere's stranglehold on the top three.
France's opponents in Auckland this weekend, New Zealand, remain clear in first place, while beaten semi-finalists Australia stay second. However, dethroned world champions South Africa, who were eliminated by the Wallabies in the last eight, have slipped beneath the French into fourth.
Bizarrely, Wales' semi-final exit at the hands of France has seen them drop below England, who move up to fifth despite having bowed out in the quarters.
The rest of the top ten remains unchanged. Ireland stay seventh, just ahead of Argentina, with Tonga and Scotland ninth and tenth, respectively.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in a fiery East Midlands derby and all the action from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton