Rugby World Cup 2011
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 EMEA Ltd
We bring you our pick of the best pictures from around the world in the last seven days with the battle for Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup glory taking centre stage
"If you listen carefully you should be able to hear them mining the granite for the statue of a certain Jonny Wilkinson" Graham Jenkins reports from the Heineken Cup Final
Quade Cooper's defence is better than it was 12 months ago and Robbie Deans has erred in omitting him from the core Wallabies squad to play the Lions, Greg Growden writes
"People on the outside think unfounded thoughts on Toulon." Tom Hamilton talks to RCT lock Nick Kennedy ahead of Saturday's Heineken Cup final against Clermont