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.
Proposals to remove promotion and relegation from the Aviva Premiership would be for the good of the game overall, argues John Taylor
Ireland have the world sitting up and taking notice - and rugby's structure in Europe will aid their Rugby World Cup bid, writes John Mitchell
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery