THE IRISH RUGBY camp got a rude awakening this morning as the latest IRB rankings showed that they have dropped to a lowly eighth in the world, equalling the country’s lowest ever position.
Ranked fourth at the beginning of August, Declan Kidney’s men have plummeted four places in as many weeks after a terrible run of form produced four successive losses in the World Cup warm-ups.
Those defeats against Scotland, France (twice) and England mean that of the Six Nations countries, only Italy — who play Ireland on 2 October in the final Pool C game — now lie beneath them.
Ireland were previously ranked eighth from March 2008 until February 2009, when they arrested the slide at the beginning of the Grand Slam campaign.
At the top of the pile, New Zealand remain number one in the world despite losing 25-20 to Australia in the Tri-Nations decider on Saturday.
That win, Australia’s first in the series in ten years, consolidated the Wallabies’ position in second while the southern hemisphere’s other major side, South Africa, remain in third.
France are ranked highest of the northern hemisphere countries in fourth place, followed by England, Wales and Scotland.