Ireland will travel to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup ranked as the sixth best country in the world according to the latest rankings released by the IRB this afternoon. The team has slipped two places after a somewhat up and down campaign over the last twelve months.
It also means that England have overtaken Ireland as the highest northern hemisphere team as they are currently ranked 4th in the rankings. New Zealand currently lead the rankings ahead of fellow southern hemisphere sides Australia and South Africa.
The slide of two places down the rankings is a reflection of the kind of year that Ireland had. Having lost to South Africa last November confidence was high coming into this year’s Six Nations.
However after scraping past Italy thanks to a last ditch drop goal from Ronan O’ Gara they lost out narrowly to France in an epic 22-25 defeat at the Aviva Stadium.
The Six Nations was book ended nicely however as Ireland derailed the English chariot and prevented England landing the Grand Slam as they defeated them 24-8 at the Aviva.
A disappointing summer tour down under also had an impact on the rankings. Ireland will be looking to bounce back up the rankings with a bold display at the World Cup where a semi-final spot is a realistic expectation for this group of players.
Preparations for the World Cup continue this coming Saturday as Ireland travel to meet France in Bordeaux before meeting them and England back at the Aviva Stadium to complete their preparations.
1(1) NEW ZEALAND 93.26
2(2) AUSTRALIA 86.58
3(3) SOUTH AFRICA 85.24
4(5) ENGLAND 82.89
5(6) FRANCE 82.06
6(4) IRELAND 81.29
7(7) WALES 79.14
8(8) ARGENTINA 78.97
9(9) SCOTLAND 78.57
10(10) SAMOA 74.55
Sportsnewsireland.com will have live score updates on all GAA Championship matches over the summer.