Ireland plummet in IRB rankings
August 29, 2011
If Ireland are to improve on their ranking they will have to do it without influential back-row David Wallace © Getty Images
Ireland have dropped to eighth in the IRB world rankings on the back of their 20-9 loss to England on Saturday.
The loss was Ireland's fourth in their RWC 2011 warm-up matches, defeats by Scotland, France (twice) and England in August resulting in Declan Kidney's men not only surrendering their mantle as the leading northern hemisphere nation in the rankings but sliding four places in total.
Ireland could have slipped another place to ninth had England's victory margin been more than 15 points, but eighth still equals their lowest ever standing which they occupied for almost a year before embarking on their Six Nations Grand Slam winning campaign of 2009.
They are now the fifth highest northern hemisphere side in the IRB World Rankings, their latest defeat dropping them behind Scotland with France, England and Wales having already usurped them. England have halved their deficit to France with the win in Dublin, but remain fifth.
New Zealand are another side licking their wounds after surrendering the Tri-Nations title to Australia with a 25-20 loss at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, a defeat which sees their cushion at the top of the rankings cut to only 1.71 points. With the points exchange system used to calculate the IRB World Rankings doubling for all matches at Rugby World Cup 2011 to reflect the importance of the tournament, New Zealand's reign at the top could come to an end over the coming months.
Australia's victory, which secured a first Tri Nations title since 2001, has stretched their advantage over South Africa in third to just over three points, not to mention boosted confidence as they seek to become the first nation to lift the Webb Ellis Cup three times.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter
While the Super Rugby season enters the all-important knockout phase, elsewhere pre-season training never looked so enjoyable. We round-up the best snaps in our Week in Pictures
"Our scrums and lineouts are sometimes not that good but our men are very brave." Ken Borland finds that rugby is on the rise in Senegal