Italy edge closer to Top 10 in rugby

Italian rugby hit the back pages after their historic 22-21 victory over France at the Stadio Flaminio on Saturday, but the win was not quite enough to improve their standing of 12th in the latest IRB World Rankings.

The biggest win in Italian rugby history – and their first over France in the Six Nations – has improved their rating by 1.77 points, bringing them to within a tenth of Samoa and 0.12 of Fiji in 10th ahead of their visit to Murrayfield to take on Scotland this weekend.

France’s shock loss before an enthusiastic crowd in Rome has seen them lose ground on England in fourth, but the fact that Ireland also slipped to defeat against Wales on Saturday means the two sides remain fifth and sixth, albeit now separated by only eight hundredths.

Wales had managed only one win over Ireland in Cardiff since 1983, but improved that statistic with a hard fought 19-13 victory at the Millennium Stadium, a result which does not improve their position of seventh but closes them to within six tenths of fifth ranked France.

The weekend’s final Six Nations match, between England and Scotland on Sunday, had no impact on the rankings with the hosts triumphing 22-16 at Twickenham to keep alive hopes of a first Grand Slam in eight years and preserving their standings as the leading northern hemisphere side in fourth.

England gained no points from beating Scotland as their points differential with England’s home advantage was greater than 10.

IRB World Rankings – 14 March 2011
Position (last week)
1(1) NEW ZEALAND 93.19
2(2) AUSTRALIA 87.45
3(3) SOUTH AFRICA 86.44
4(4) ENGLAND 83.98
5(5) FRANCE 81.10
6(6) IRELAND 81.02
7(7) WALES 80.51
8(8) ARGENTINA 78.97
9(9) SCOTLAND 76.96
10(10) FIJI 74.05
11(11) SAMOA 74.02
12(12) ITALY 73.93

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