18 Nov 2008

International rugby matches will dictate World Cup draw next month

11:46 am on 18 November 2008

England has slipped to fifth on the International Rugby Board's world ranking, which could affect their draw for the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

England need to finish their November internationals in the top four if they are to avoid being drawn alongside the Wallabies, South Africa or ther All Blacks in the pool phase.

The draw takes place in London on December 1 and Argentina are fourth after beating Italy last weekend.

England face the Springboks and the All Blacks on successive weekends at Twickenham, starting on Sunday with a repeat of last year's World Cup final which South Africa won 15-6 in Paris.

Martin Johnson's men will also hope Ireland can do them a favour when they play Argentina at Croke Park on Saturday.

Ireland have plenty to play for against the Pumas - not just revenge for their 2007 World Cup exit at the hands of the eventual third-place finishers.

Another loss to the Pumas this weekend, combined with a Scotland victory over Canada, would see Ireland drop to ninth.