Wales end run of eight losses, climb three places in rankings

Getty Images and James Mortimer     12 Feb 2013     Getty Images

The Welsh had slipped to 10th – equalling their lowest ever position since the rankings were introduced in 2003 – but a first win over Les Bleus in Paris has lifted the defending RBS 6 Nations champions above Italy, Samoa and Argentina.

France are now the only side in the 2013 Championship without a victory and they remain fifth in the rankings, albeit now 3.38 points behind England who are the leading northern hemisphere nation behind New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.

England went into round two with just a 0.51 cushion over France, but a 12-6 victory over Ireland in Dublin – their first win in the Irish capital since their last Grand Slam winning campaign in 2003 – and France’s loss has increased that considerably. England now trail Australia by just under two points.

Ireland remain sixth despite the defeat in the pouring rain at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday, little more than a point behind France and above Wales as the Six Nations takes a break this coming weekend.

The other side on the climb in the rankings after a first victory of 2013 are Scotland, who jump two places to 10th on the back of a 34-10 defeat of Italy at Murrayfield. Italy slip two places to ninth after being unable to reproduce their heroics of a week earlier against France.

There were also two positional changes in the rankings as a result of the European Nations Cup Division 1A action with Spain swapping places with Russia to reclaim 19th position after a 21-21 draw with Belgium in Brussels.

Spain’s gain in rating points with minimal, just five hundredths, but it was enough to lift them above a Russian side beaten 29-14 by Romania in Bucharest in the second round of a competition that will determine the Europe 1 and 2 qualifiers for Rugby World Cup 2015.

Romania have now closed to within two rating points of Georgia, the highest ranked of the Division 1A teams whose 25-12 victory over 23rd ranked Portugal in Tbilisi had no impact on the rating points of either team.