...Paul O'Connell right in the thick of things during Ireland's 26-16 win over Italy last Saturday...
Ireland are seventh in the latest IRB World Rankings after he weekend's opening round of matches in the RBS 6 Nations.
Win, lose or draw, the result of Saturday's Ireland v Italy would have had no effect on the ranking of Eddie O'Sullivan's side. Next weekend's trip to Paris could though.
The weekend's big winners - England and Scotland - both moved up two places. Andy Robinson's men leapfrogged France into third after their 34-point win against last season's Grand Slam winners Wales, and Scotland's surprise 20-16 defeat of France yesterday.
Scotland's win pushed them ahead of Argentina and Samoa into eighth. Italy remain twelfth.
IRB WORLD RANKINGS: As of February 6
(1) New Zealand 93.32 Rating Points, (2) South Africa 88.76, (3) England 84.21, (4) France 84.15, (5) Australia 83.93, (6) Wales 81.60, (7) IRELAND 80.03, (8) Scotland 75.55, (9) Argentina 75.16, (10) Samoa 73.97, (11) Fiji 73.11, (12) Italy 72.40, (13) USA 68.31, (14) 67.42, (15) Romania 66.47
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