Ireland suffer rankings blow

Date published: March 18 2013

Defeat to Italy in Rome on Saturday has seen Ireland fall to ninth spot in the latest IRB World Rankings, which is their lowest ever position.

Defeat to Italy at the Stadio Olimipico over the weekend has seen Ireland fall to ninth in the IRB World Rankings, which is their lowest ever position.

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 the final Six Nations match of 2013.

The other five nations all ended the Championship's final weekend in the place they began it, although in the cases of Wales and Italy significantly closer to the sides above them in England and Tonga.

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 and slash the deficit between the two to just 0.36 rating points.

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.

Italy's margin of victory over Ireland was not big enough to improve their position of twelfth, although they have closed to within four hundredths of Tonga above them, as well as only eight tenths behind Scotland in tenth.

IRB World Rankings
(Previous position in brackets)

1(1) New Zealand 90.08
2(2) South Africa 86.94
3(3) Australia 86.87
4(4) England 83.72
5(5) Wales 83.36
6(6) France 81.59
7(8) Samoa 78.71
8(9) Argentina 78.71
9(7) Ireland 78.05
10(10) Scotland 76.86
11(11) Tonga 76.10
12(12) Italy 76.06
13(13) Fiji 71.52
14(14) Canada 71.41
15(15) Japan 70.09

With thanks to the IRB