Italy's reward for making it back-to-back Six Nations wins over France in Rome has moved them up one place in the IRB World Rankings, a position they have not occupied since 2007.
Tries from captain Sergio Parisse and prop Martin Castrogiovanni helped Italy to a 23-18 victory over France at the Stadio Flaminio on Sunday, a result which lifts the Azzurri above Wales.
The defeat was a costly one for France, as they surrender their position as the leading northern hemisphere nation in the rankings with England assuming fourth spot by just over four tenths.
England ran out 38-18 winners over Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday but that result had no impact on their rating, with the Scots remaining in their lowest ever position of 12th after failing to end a 30-year wait for victory over the Auld Enemy at the venue.
Ireland were the other winners in round one, withstanding a Welsh second-half fight-back to win 30-22 at the Millennium Stadium. They remain sixth, just over two rating points behind France and now 3.62 points above Samoa and Argentina below them.
The defeat - their eighth in a row since completing the Grand Slam last March - means Wales equal their lowest ever position in the rankings, one they last occupied after losing to Fiji at RWC 2007.
IRB World Rankings -
04 February 2013 Position (last week)
1(1) NEW ZEALAND 90.08
2(2) SOUTH AFRICA 86.94
3(3) AUSTRALIA 86.87
4(5) ENGLAND 83.90
5(4) FRANCE 83.49
6(6) IRELAND 81.33
7(7) SAMOA 78.71
8(8) ARGENTINA 78.71
9(10) ITALY 77.82
10(9) WALES 77.27
11(11) TONGA 76.10
12(12) SCOTLAND 75.83