France climb two places in rankings

(IRB.COM) Monday 10 March 2014
 
 France climb two places in rankings
Yoann Huget scored France's only try in the win over Scotland

France’s late escape against Scotland at Murrayfield has seen them return to fifth in the latest IRB World Rankings, regaining the two places they lost after the defeat by Wales in round three of the Six Nations.

Only 0.16 points had separated Ireland in fifth from France in seventh going into the penultimate round of matches, but the 19-17 victory – secured after Jean-Marc Doussain’s late penalty – away from home lifts Les Bleus above both the Irish and Wales.

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Ireland were also victorious, running out emphatic 46-7 winners over Italy in Brian O’Driscoll’s final match on home soil. However, this had no impact on their rating as visitors Italy are ranked nine place and more than eight points below them.

The Irish now trail France by just under seven tenths with Wales only 0.38 adrift of them after slipping one place following the 29-18 loss to England at Twickenham on Sunday, a loss that ends hopes of a record third successive title in the Six Nations era.

England, who claimed a first Triple Crown since 2011 as a result of the victory, remain the leading northern hemisphere nation in the rankings in fourth and fractionally reduce the deficit to Australia above them.

The only other positional change in the latest IRB World Rankings is Spain climbing back to 21st at the expense of their Iberian neighbours Portugal. This positional change has happened four times now in 2014 and could happen again as the sides meet in the European Nations Cup on Saturday.

Both sides suffered defeats in their Division 1A matches on Saturday, but Spain’s was by a narrower margin (24-17) to the higher ranked Georgia in Madrid while Portugal lost 34-18 on the road to 19th ranked Russia. 

The win did not improve Russia’s position of 19th, but did chip away at the sizeable deficit to USA above them. Georgia, meanwhile, remain 16th and now within a rating point of Canada.

The weekend’s other European Nations Cup match had no impact on the rankings with Romania running out 29-10 winners over a Belgium side ranked 12 places below them in 29th. 

Romania did, though, score what could be a crucial try bonus point in their battle with Georgia – the side above them in the rankings – to win the European Nations Cup and claim the Europe 1 berth at Rugby World Cup 2015.  

READ A REVIEW OF THE EUROPEAN NATIONS CUP MATCHES >>