France have moved past England into third spot on the latest World Rugby rankings.
This follows Les Bleus’ last-gasp 32-30 Six Nations win over Wales in Paris at the weekend.
In fact, England could have slipped further down the rankings had it not been for winger Jonny May’s late consolation try in a 32-18 loss to Ireland in Dublin.
The Irish were on course to overtake England in fourth spot until May’s late try closed the gap sufficiently. Ireland did, however, move up a spot past Wales into fifth.
The top-ranked Springboks and second-placed All Blacks still comfortably lead the pack, despite South Africa not playing a Test since their World Cup triumph in 2019.
Wales, who moved down to sixth, still top the Six Nations table. For France to pip them to the title, they need score four tries or more and beat Scotland by 21 points in Paris on Friday.
The French last won the Six Nations in 2010.
World Rugby rankings (Top 10):
1. South Africa (94.20 points)
2. New Zealand (88.95)
3. France (86.17)
4. England (85.44)
5. Ireland (84.69)
6. Wales (83.44)
7. Australia (83.08)
8. Argentina (80.31)
9. Scotland (80.12)
10. Japan (79.29)