Scotland profit from flawless record
The June Tests drew to a close at the weekend with France exacting revenge on Argentina for their defeat a week before and Scotland completing a winning tour.
England’s gutsy draw with South Africa in Port Elizabeth returns them to fourth spot, just a whisker ahead of Les Bleus in the IRB World Rankings.
France sit only six-hundredths of a ranking point behind the English, moving up from seventh thanks to their 49-10 victory in Tucuman – their first away win over the Pumas since 1998.
Defeat leaves Argentina eighth, which is relevant looking ahead to the next Rugby World Cup. At the end of 2012, the IRB World Rankings will be used to determine the seeding for the 12 sides who have already qualified for the 2015 showpiece.
The sides will be seeded in three bands, meaning 1-4 in the world (plus 5-8 and 9-12) will be guaranteed separate pools.
England’s return to 4th might provide some relief at Twickenham, but Argentina, having risen to sixth during the June Test window, are in a precarious spot.
Fall to ninth, for instance, and they would be in the same pool as two big hitters; on current standings that could be the All Blacks and France.
Top three sides
New Zealand, Australia and South Africa remain the top three sides in the world, but the flurry of Test activity means every side from fourth to 12th changes position.
Ireland, blown away 60-0 by the All Blacks, rise one to eighth thanks to events around them, while the Welsh, having lost to Australia by the narrowest of margins, drop two spots to sixth.
Scotland put a disappointing Six Nations campaign behind them to outdo their touring European counterparts with a three from three record.
Their one-point win over Samoa in Apia at the weekend translates to a one-place rise in the standings to ninth - having started the month 12th - and relegates their opposition one spot to 10h.
Fiji’s 29-17 victory over Tonga secured second place in the IRB Pacific Nations Cup and shunted their opponents down one place to 12th in the world.
Canada - one ahead of 14th-placed Fiji – consolidated their position by beating Georgia handsomely 31-12 in British Columbia. Wins by 16 points or more attract greater credit so Canada’s tally goes up by more than half a ranking point.
Bulgaria’s 29-26 European Nations Cup win over Hungary turned a one-place gap between the sides to six and they now stand 78 and 84 respectively.
The IRB World Rankings are published every Monday at midday UK time.