England slide down world rankings
October 10, 2011
England flew home early after suffering an early exit from the World Cup in New Zealand © PA Photos
England's early World Cup exit has seen them fall to sixth in the latest world standings, with Wales taking up the mantle of being the highest-ranked northern hemisphere nation.
France are the big movers, rising three places to fifth after beating England 19-12 in the World Cup on Saturday, and fellow semi-finalists Australia and Wales have also been rewarded for getting the better of higher-ranked opponents at the weekend by moving up to second and fourth respectively.
Martin Johnson's England have dropped two places from fourth, while Ireland - still reeling from their last-eight defeat to Wales in Wellington - have slipped two spots to seventh. Beaten quarter-finalists South Africa have been leapfrogged by southern hemisphere rivals Australia and now only sit above Wales in the standings by just over a point.
New Zealand still lead the way but the All Blacks' lead at the top of the standings has been trimmed to 3.42 points owing to Australia's advancement to the semi-final stage of the World Cup.
IRB World Rankings
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
As Scotland decides its future, Scrum Sevens looks at a group of players who transcended rugby both for country and the British & Irish Lions
Ahead of November's USA-All Blacks match, America's ESPN Magazine explains rugby to its readers who may not be familiar with the game
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup