Romania has overtaken the United States for 17th place in the International Rugby Board standings, by result of the past weekend's 25-0 road win over Russia.
The decline closes the book on Eddie O'Sullivan's tenure. When he arrived in March 2009, the Eagles were ranked 19th, their lowest position ever. Mike Tolkin, named successor last week, inherits a team in 18th.
Rankings, however, reveal something about marginal efficiency. The Roberts-Melville administration once trumpeted that USARFU claimed as much from the IRB's 'investment program' as any of its second division rivals, and in some cases more.
No more. While Tonga and Samoa have climbed into the top 10, the US has fallen to the lowest of any of the old Pacific Rim countries. The US also is at bottom of the so-called tier 2 countries (essentially the Pacific Rim teams plus Europe's second division).
USARFU spends about $1 million per year on the 15s team, counting such 'high performance' programs such as the Americas Rugby Championship. The total is approximately 15-20 percent of its overall budget, which is increasingly dependent on player dues, reaching 45 percent of revenue in 2010.
The Eagles are 13th in the Sevens World Series standings, the lowest of any series regular. Canada, which is not a 'core member', is 3 places higher.