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Ireland Move Back Up To Fourth

Ireland Move Back Up To Fourth

Ireland will finish out 2009 as Europe’s number one side in the IRB World Rankings, following their thrilling 15-10 GUINNESS Series victory over South Africa last weekend.

As a result of Ireland’s battling win over the reigning World Cup and Tri Nations champions, Declan Kidney’s side swapped places with France in the IRB World Rankings, climbing from fifth place to fourth.

The Grand Slam champions started the GUINNESS Series ranked fourth in the world, and have now closed the gap on third-placed Australia from 1.88 rating points to just 0.97.

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Notably, twelve months ago, Ireland were ranked eighth (78.45) as they secured a place as second seeds for the 2011 Rugby World Cup draw.

Meanwhile, for the fifth time in the seven years since the inception of the IRB World Rankings in 2003, New Zealand have finished the annual rugby calendar at the top of the list.

Only in 2003 (England) and 2007 (South Africa) have the All Blacks not finished as the world’s top-ranked side.

New Zealand consolidated their position at the apex of the IRB World Rankings at the weekend – ahead of South Africa – with their impressive triumph over France in Paris. The result also dropped the French down one place to fifth.

Australia’s convincing win over Wales did not affect their own ranking, but did mean that the Welsh fell two places to eighth, which helped England and Argentina move up one place each, to sixth and seventh respectively.

Italy’s 24-6 home win over Samoa – their first Test match victory of 2009 – meant that the two sides swapped places, the Italians climbing one to 11th.

IRB WORLD RANKINGS (As of Monday, November 30):

1(1) NEW ZEALAND 91.68 rating points 
2(2) SOUTH AFRICA 88.59
3(3) AUSTRALIA 85.55
4(5) IRELAND 84.58
5(4) FRANCE 82.40
6(7) ENGLAND 80.72
7(8) ARGENTINA 80.55
8(6) WALES 79.89
9(9) SCOTLAND 76.59
10(10) FIJI 75.91

* Last week’s positions in brackets