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.
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker