Wales may still be celebrating a third RBS Six Nations Grand Slam in eight years after beating France 16-9 at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, but it was not enough to improve their position of fifth in the latest IRB World Rankings.
The margin of victory was not enough to lift Wales above an England side who overpowered Ireland 30-9 at Twickenham to finish as runners-up to their neighbours in the Championship.
The gap between the two, though, has been reduced to just three tenths ahead of the tours to the southern hemisphere in June when the battle to secure a top four ranking for the RWC 2015 Pool Allocation Draw will resume.
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France, who had begun the Six Nations ranked third in the world after reaching the RWC 2011 Final, remain sixth despite the loss to Wales, although they now trail their conquerors by 1.41 rating points rather than the one hundredth before the match.
Ireland have paid the price for their loss at Twickenham with a one-place fall to eighth, dropping once more below Argentina having climbed above the Pumas after their draw with France the previous weekend.
The only Six Nations side on the rise in the rankings this week are Italy, who climb one place to 11th on the back of a 13-6 win over Scotland in Rome. The defeat gave Scotland the wooden spoon and a fall to their lowest ever position of 12th.
Ukraine biggest climbers
Italy were not the only nation to avoid a whitewash over the weekend with Ukraine ending their seven match losing streak in the top tier of the European Nations Cup 2012 by upsetting Portugal 35-33 on Saturday.
The win lifts Ukraine four places to 29th, lifting them above Moldova, Kazakhstan and Korea with Germany falling two places after also suffering a narrow 30-29 home loss to Belgium in Division 1B. Zimbabwe are the beneficiaries of Germany’s loss, rising one to 33rd.
Portugal’s defeat – coming a week after they beat their higher ranked neighbours Spain – means they slip one place to 25th, swapping places with the victorious Belgium, who remain on course for promotion to the top tier for next season.
Spain recovered from last week’s defeat against Portugal by edging past Romania 13-12. As a result, Spain are now only 1.24 ratings points below Romania in 18th.
There were two other European Nations Cup matches over the weekend with Georgia overwhelming Russia 46-0 in their Division 1A encounter in Tbilisi and Switzerland running riot to beat Slovenia 85-0 in Division 2B.
Neither result had an impact on ratings with the victors playing at home and being ranked significantly higher than their opponents, seven places in Georgia’s case and 28 places in Switzerland’s.