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Wales target fourth spot in the global rankings

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irb.com     08 Mar 2014     Getty Images

The Welsh are currently sixth and two places behind their RWC 2015 Pool A opponents, but can take over the mantle of the leading northern hemisphere nation in the rankings if they win by more than 15 points.

A win by a lesser margin at the home of English rugby will be enough to lift Wales into fifth spot, regardless of what happens in the other two Six Nations matches which see France face Scotland at Murrayfield and Ireland host Italy at the Aviva Stadium.

Only 0.16 rating points currently separate Ireland in fifth from France in seventh and the Irish face the prospect of falling two places as victory over the Azzurri will have no impact on their rating, a consequence of being at home against a side currently ranked 14th.

The Irish will fall those two places if Wales and France both win their round four matches. Wales will be the higher ranked of the trio in this instance as they will gain more for beating the higher ranked England away than France will for winning at the lower ranked Scotland.

A defeat would hit Welsh hopes of becoming the first to win three successive titles in the Six Nations era and, in the event of a France win in Scotland, would see them slip behind the side they beat in the last round a fortnight ago.

France, who slipped two places to seventh on the back of that Cardiff defeat, cannot slide any further if they suffer a first defeat at the hands of Scotland since 2006, but the Scots could climb two places to eighth with a win over their visitors.

Scotland could slip from their current position of 10th if Italy cause an upset at the Aviva Stadium. Italy beat their RWC 2015 opponents Ireland in Rome last year and if they can repeat that then they could climb as many as four places back into the top 10.

To view more regarding the world rankings, visit the IRB here.