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Premiership Rugby

England’s route to the top

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

Should they break that mark, it would take an extraordinary series of results from the likes of New Zealand and Australia in the Tri-Nations, plus English defeats in their RWC warm-ups, to see them displaced ahead of the World Cup in October.

What is for certain is that England will be at an all-time high when the latest standings are released on July 1 with the two away wins over New Zealand and Australia propelling them to areas only South Africa (1998/99) and Australia (2000) have been before in terms of rankings points.

It has been a steady rise to the top for Clive Woodward's team, under his guidance England have risen from 5th in the world in 1997 to the top although there were several Grand Slam blips along the way.


England and the Zurich World Rankings
Nov 1997 5th (1031 points) Before Woodward's first game in charge
Jan 1998 5th (1018 points)
Jan 1999 5th (1029 points)
Apr 1999 5th (1043 points) End of 1999 Five Nations; after lost to Wales
Jul 1999 4th (1046 points) Took fourth in July 1999
Nov 1999 4th (1039 points) End of RWC when they get booted out in QFs
Jan 2000 4th (1039 points)
Apr 2000 4th (1044 points) End of 2000 Five Nations; after lost to Scotland
Jul 2000 4th (1062 points) Draw Test series 1-1 in SA
Jan 2001 4th (1095 points)
Feb 2001 3rd (1121 points) Moved to third after Six Nations wins over Wales
Jul 2001 3rd (1156 points)
Nov 2001 4th (1121 points) Dropped back down to fourth after loss to Ireland
Dec 2001 2nd (1176 points) Moved to second after wins over Aus and SA
Jan 2002 2nd (1176 points)
Feb 2002 1st (1203 points) Became first NH side to be No.1
Apr 2002 2nd (1174 points) Have to settle for second after French Slam.
Dec 2002 1st (1217 points) Home wins over Tri-Nations sides
Apr 2003 1st (1239 points) Six Nations Grand Slam
Jul 2003 1st (???? points) A record 13 straight wins puts England in control

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