France and Ireland both saw their dreams of a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2014 ended with defeats to Wales and England respectively over the weekend, but it was Les Bleus who came off worse in the latest IRB World Rankings.
Philippe Saint-André’s men have fallen two places to seventh after the 27-6 loss to Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Friday with Ireland – despite their 13-10 loss to England at Twickenham a day later – and the Welsh both climbing one place.
The three sides are now separated by just two tenths of a rating point with England remaining the leading northern hemisphere nation in the rankings with a cushion that has now grown to 4.7 rating points over their rivals.
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The only other positional change as a result of the third round of Six Nations matches was a one-place fall for Italy after Duncan Weir’s drop goal in the dying seconds secured a 21-20 win for Scotland at the Stadio Olimpico.
Italy swap places with Japan by a mere hundredth, a scenario which leaves the Azzurri occupying 14th position – their lowest since the IRB World Rankings were introduced in October 2003. Scotland remain 10th, albeit now less than a tenth behind Argentina.
The only other match to result in positional changes was Portugal’s 19-6 victory over Belgium in Division 1A of the European Nations Cup on Saturday. Portugal climb one place to 21st, swapping places again with neighbours Spain – as they have done after each ENC weekend in 2014.
The defeat means Belgium fall another place to 29th with Moldova the beneficiaries this time.
Georgia and Romania confirmed their places at Rugby World Cup 2015 with victories over Russia (36-10) and Spain (32-6) respectively, but being the higher ranked teams and playing on home soil the wins had no impact on their rating and they remain 16th and 17th respectively.
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- Monday 24 February 2014 - World Rankings
France fall two places in rankings
- Thursday 20 February 2014 - World Rankings
Trio target fourth place in rankings
- Monday 10 February 2014 - World Rankings
Ireland and Spain on rise in rankings
- Friday 7 February 2014 - World Rankings
Scotland with plenty to gain in rankings