Rugby World Cup 2011
Wales plummet in latest IRB rankings
ESPNscrum Staff
October 25, 2011
Wales wing Shane Williams dives in for a try, Rugby World Cup, Australia v Wales, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, October 21, 2011
Despite Wales finishing fourth in the World Cup they are ranked eighth by the IRB © Getty Images

Wales have slid to eighth in the IRB World Rankings after their bronze final loss to Australia on Friday.

World champions New Zealand remain on top of the IRB World Rankings after beating France 8-7 in the World Cup final on Sunday, although their cushion at the top has been reduced slightly. The All Blacks have occupied top spot for the last 23 months and for nearly 80% of the time since the rankings were introduced in October 2003, but would have surrendered that position to France had they suffered more RWC heartbreak against Les Bleus.

France's third, and by far the closest, defeat in a World Cup final means they remain third in the rankings behind bronze medal winners Australia and just over three tenths above South Africa, a nation they climbed above last week to break the southern hemisphere dominance of the top three.

Australia's 21-18 victory over Wales in the bronze final on Friday improved their rating by nearly a point and as a result has reduced their deficit to New Zealand to 4.01 points. The defeat was costly for Wales as the points exchange meant they dropped below Ireland and Argentina to eighth.

However, it wasn't only the final two matches of Rugby World Cup 2011 which had an impact on the latest IRB World Rankings with three European Nations Cup matches resulting in three climbs, the biggest by Israel who jump six places to 61st after beating Austria 28-26.

IRB World Rankings:

1(1) New Zealand 91.43
2(2) Australia 87.42
3(3) France 84.70
4(4) South Africa 84.34
5(5) England 81.58
6(7) Ireland 80.65
7(8) Argentina 80.28
8(6) Wales 80.18
9(9) Tonga 76.63
10(10) Scotland 76.20
11(11) Samoa 75.81
12(12) Italy 73.99
13(13) Canada 72.92
14(14) Georgia 71.09
15(15) Japan 70.45
16(16) Fiji 68.78
17(17) USA 65.63
18(18) Romania 63.98
19(19) Namibia 61.24
20(20) Portugal 60.67

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