Wales remain 4th in world rankings
March 18, 2013
Wales' stunning Six Nations triumph has failed to lift them above England in the latest IRB rankings © PA Photos
Wales' stunning Six Nations triumph has failed to propel them above England in the latest International Rugby Board world rankings.
Wales destroyed England's hopes of a first Grand Slam since 2003 with a dominant 30-3 victory at the Millennium Stadium to retain the title but it was not enough to overhaul the visitors who remain one place above them in fourth spot. The heavy loss for England not only puts their mantle as the leading northern hemisphere nation under threat but also means their deficit to Australia in third has now grown to more than three rating points.
Ireland were the big losers on the final weekend of the Six Nations with a first loss to Italy since 1997 condemning Declan Kidney's side to a two place fall to their lowest ever position in the rankings. Four defeats in a row meant Ireland narrowly avoided the wooden spoon but there was no such luck in the rankings with the 22-15 defeat in Rome on Saturday dropping them below Samoa and Argentina to ninth.
Ireland's previous lowest position was eighth on a handful of occasions, but it could have been worse than ninth had Scotland not slipped to a 23-16 loss to France at the Stade de France in their final outing.
Italy's margin of victory over Ireland was not big enough to improve their position of 12th, although they have closed to within four hundredths of Tonga above them, as well as only eight tenths behind Scotland in 10th.
In related news, Cyprus' 79-10 victory over Bulgaria in Division 2D of the European Nations Cup, that extended their winning run to a new world record of 18 Tests, had no impact on the rankings as the victors are not yet a Member Union of the International Rugby Board.
IRB World Rankings: (March 18)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter
While the Super Rugby season enters the all-important knockout phase, elsewhere pre-season training never looked so enjoyable. We round-up the best snaps in our Week in Pictures