England retain fourth spot in rankings
March 19, 2012
England celebrate Ben Youngs' score against Ireland © Getty Images
England have retained their top four spot in the International Rugby Board (IRB) world rankings after finishing second in the Six Nations Championship.
Stuart Lancaster's team are less than one ranking point behind South Africa in fourth spot despite finishing the tournament adrift of Grand Slam-winning Wales.
Warren Gatland's side remain fifth in the standings, with the next few months set to decide which sides will be seeded for the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.
England travel to South Africa in June, while Wales are on the road for a three-Test series against Australia. The top four sides in the IRB rankings will later this year headline the Pools for the World Cup, avoiding one another.
Ireland have dropped one place to eighth following their 30-9 defeat at Twickenham on Saturday, while there is further gloom for Scotland, who are now down to 12th - behind Tonga, Samoa and Italy - after losing all five of their games in the Six Nations.
New Zealand remain the comfortable rankings leaders, with Tri-Nations title holders Australia in second place.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton