Ireland's drop down rankings threatens World Cup seeding
There was plenty to leave Irish fans despondent last Sunday after the gut-wrenching defeat by Wales, but Monday arrived with further gloom when the IRB world rankings were updated.
Ireland dropping two places to eighth leaves them hovering precariously in the second tier of seeds for the World Cup 2015 draw, which takes place at the end of the year.
For a side that won the Grand Slam three years ago and beat the Tri-Nations champions a few months ago, this is a considerable comedown, particularly with trips to Paris, London and a three-Test series in New Zealand to negotiate.
Tonga and Samoa are ranked ninth and 10th, but Ireland are still ahead of the 11th-placed Scots -- although judging by Andy Robinson's side's performance against England last weekend, that's not saying much.