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Premiership Rugby

England extend lead at the top of Zurich World Rankings

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

England have now accumulated their highest points total ever in the rankings and are now a considerable 77 points ahead of the All Blacks who will need an impressive clean sweep in the Tri-Nations competition to have any chance of over-hauling Clive Woodward's men going into the RWC warm-up phase.

However, England have not yet broken the 1300 barrier in the Zurich World Rankings and emulated the feat of Nick Mallett's South African side who hit a best ever mark of 1317 rankings points in September 1998.

If England were the big winners in the action-packed month of June, their European rivals France were the biggest losers after their series defeat to Argentina and a further loss to New Zealand although they remain safe in fourth after South Africa's recent lacklustre results.

Meanwhile, Argentina's steady rise in the rankings continues with the Pumas now at their highest-ever position in the world, up to seventh ahead of Six Nations's sides Wales and Scotland and up from 10th in the world in January 2000 after the conclusion of the last Rugby World Cup.

Lower down the table, Italy ride their luck and gain a place thanks to Canada's recent home defeat to the USA – this after opting out of Test action in June and choosing New Zealand provincial opponents instead.

Churchill Cup matches involving the uncapped England XV have not been accounted for in this month's calculations.

Zurich World Rankings (as of July 1, 2003):

(-) 1 England 1287 (+48)(-) 2 New Zealand 1210 (+4)(-) 3 Australia 1153 (+7)(-) 4 France 1096 (-43) (-) 5 South Africa 1042 (-3)(-) 6 Ireland 882 (-11)(+1) 7 Argentina 798 (+36)(-1) 8 Scotland 772 (-9)(-) 9 Wales 687 (-15)(-) 10 Samoa 664 (-16)(+1) 11 Italy 593(-1) 12 Canada 591 (-12) 13 Fiji 567(-) 14 Tonga 517 (-5)(-) 15 Japan 457 (+11)(-) 16 United States 407 (+15)17 Romania 38318 Georgia 359 19 Uruguay 30720 Namibia 294

21 Portugal 292(-) 22 Russia 276 (-6)(+2) 23 Morocco 258 (+7)(-1) 24 Tunisia 254(-1) 25 Chile 251(+1) 26= Cote d'Ivoire 237 (-3)(+3) 26= Czech Republic 237 (+5)28 Spain 234(+1) 29 Cook Islands 230(-4) 30 Korea 228 (-13)31 Germany 22532 Ukraine 22433 Poland 21934 Netherlands 21835 Denmark 21136 Croatia 21037 Slovenia 20738 Switzerland 20439 Zimbabwe 20140 Brazil 198

41 Latvia 19742 Sweden 19643 Belgium 19344 Papua New Guinea 193 45 Chinese Taipei 19046 Hong Kong 18847 Paraguay 17148 Madagascar 16949 Arabian Gulf 163(-) 50 Kenya 158 (+3) 51 Yugoslavia 15052 Trinidad and Tobago 14753 Hungary 140(-) 54 Austria 135 (-1)55 Bermuda 132 (-) 56 Andorra 131(-1) 57 Malaysia 126 (-5)58 Thailand 12559 Moldova 12160 China 119

(+1) 61 Singapore 112 (+8)(+1) 62 Uganda 101(-2) 63 Lithuania 98 (-11)64= Zambia 93 (-3) (+1) 64= Kazakhstan 9366 Botswana 9267 Sri Lanka 9168 Venezuela 8769= Cameroon 7969= Cayman Islands 79(-) 71 Israel 77 (-1)72 Tahiti 72(+1) 73 Bosnia 70 (+8) (-1) 74 Malta 66(+1) 75 Bulgaria 58 (+3)(-1) 76 Luxembourg 5777 Niue Island 5578 Jamaica 4879= Solomon Islands 3779= Peru 3781 Monaco 3682 Swaziland 3483 Barbados 2984= Mexico 26(-) 84= Norway 26 (-)86= Bahamas 2486= Guyana 2488 Vanuatu 2389 Colombia 20

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