The International Rugby Board has confirmed that southern hemisphere sides have secured the top four positions in Monday’s pool draw for the 2011 World Cup.
For the first time the IRB is using its own world rankings to seed leading nations for the World Cup, which will next take place in New Zealand, according to Rugby365.
The cut-off point for Monday’s draw was the ranking positions teams occupied on Sunday, which followed Saturday’s Tests between England and New Zealand and Wales and Australia.
New Zealand’s 32-6 win over England at Twickenham, which sealed a grand slam of victories over the four home unions, cemented their grip on first place.
By contrast, England’s defeat ensured Argentina remained among the top four teams in the draw.
The Pumas, who finished third at the 2007 World Cup, will therefore avoid New Zealand, defending champions South Africa and Australia in the draw for the first round pool phase.
England’s defeat dropped them to sixth place while Six Nations champions Wales moved up into fifth following their 21-18 win over Australia at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.
Had they beaten Australia by more than 15 points, Wales would have moved into fourth place at the expense of Argentina.
As was the case during last year’s World Cup in France, where South Africa beat England 15-6 in the Final, there will be four pools of five teams in the 2011 tournament.
Wales, England, France and Ireland now face the prospect of being drawn alongside one of the leading quartet.
Scotland’s proud record of having got as far as the quarter-finals of every World Cup now looks in danger three years ahead of the next edition as they are in the third band of teams.
That means they will be drawn in a pool with both a leading southern hemisphere side and one of their major European rivals.
The teams in the top three bands are as follows:
Band 1: New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, Argentina
Band 2: Wales, England, France, Ireland
Band 3: Scotland, Fiji, Italy, Tonga
The final two positions in each pool will be allocated to the eight qualifying places still available for RWC 2011. The banding of these eight teams is as follows:
Band 4: Americas 1, Europe 1, Europe 2, Oceania 1
Band 5: Africa 1, Americas 2, Asia 1, Play Off place
The teams in each band will be drawn randomly into one of the four pools.Tweet