Ireland have fallen one place in the latest IRB World Rankings to fifth, following their 33-10 RBS 6 Nations defeat to France in Paris on Saturday.
France’s impressive victory over defending RBS 6 Nations champions Ireland at the Stade de France on Saturday has seen les Bleus climb to fourth in the latest IRB World Rankings at their visitors’ expense.
Tries from William Servat, Yannick Jauzion and Clement Poitrenaud – together with 15 points from the boot of Morgan Parra – ended Ireland’s hopes of back-to-back Grand Slams and extended France’s run to six straight home wins over Ireland.
France are now the leading northern Hemisphere nation in the rankings after returning to fourth for the first time in over two years and have opened up an advantage over Ireland of just over a rating point.
Marc Lievremont’s side now trail third-ranked Australia by a similar margin, while number one side New Zealand hold more than a seven-point cushion over a nation they will face in the pool stages of Rugby World Cup 2011.
Ireland would have gone third with a first victory at the Stade de France since March 2000, but a first loss in 15 months means Declan Kidney’s men now sit 1.56 points above England after they edged Italy 17-12 in Rome on Sunday.
England needed a late drop goal from Jonny Wilkinson to finally see off the challenge of the spirited Italians at the Stadio Flaminio and remain sixth, while the defeat sees Italy slip to less than a tenth above 12th-ranked Samoa.
The weekend’s other RBS 6 Nations match did not have a positional impact on the IRB World Rankings after Wales played their get out of jail card with two tries in the last five minutes to beat Scotland 31-24 at the Millennium Stadium.
Shane Williams’ injury-time try ensured that Wales remain eighth in the rankings, inching them closer to Argentina above and away from Fiji below. Scotland remain 10th with that heartbreaking defeat and are more than three points above their next hosts Italy.
IRB WORLD RANKINGS (As of Monday, February 15):
1(1) NEW ZEALAND 91.68 rating points
2(2) SOUTH AFRICA 88.60
3(3) AUSTRALIA 85.56
4(5) FRANCE 84.40
5(4) IRELAND 83.33
6(6) ENGLAND 81.77
7(7) ARGENTINA 80.56
8(8) WALES 79.63
9(9) FIJI 75.90
10(10) SCOTLAND 75.51
* Last week’s positions in brackets