By David Williams
The latest World Rugby rankings have seen Wales move into ninth place following the weekend’s Six Nations action.
Wales fell to 10th following the 20-10 loss to England in Round Three but have regained ninth after defeating Italy.
Wales avoid dropping out of the top 10
Warren Gatland’s side secured a 29-17 victory over the Azzurri in Rome in Round Four of the Six Nations.
The win meant that Wales will likely avoid the Wooden Spoon and did not drop out of the top 10 entirely.
In fact, Wales could have slipped to 13th in the rankings, which would have been the first time they would be ranked outside the top 10.
Avoiding a first Six Nations whitewash with a try-bonus point win over the Azzurri earned Wales 1.20 ranking points which moved them above Japan by 0.69 of a point ahead.
The match gave Italy the opportunity to break into the top 10.
🏴 Wales 🆙
An important win in Rome and Wales are moving up in the World Rugby Men's Rankings, powered by @capgemini
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) March 13, 2023
A win would have seen the Azzurri move ahead of Wales in the rankings for just the fourth time ever. It would have been the first time since February 2013 (also in March and August 2007).
However, the loss means that they have slipped to 15th in the rankings, with Fiji jumping above them.
Tight at the top
Meanwhile, France collected one ranking point to boost their tally to 90.47. This was courtesy of a record 53-10 victory over England at Twickenham.
Ireland’s 22-7 win at Murrayfield increased their rating by 0.49 of a point to 91.82, maintaining their position at the top of the rankings.
As a result, France have closed the gap to Ireland to 1.35 points.
New Zealand remain in third place with a 0.01 advantage over fourth-placed South Africa.
Scotland and England are in fifth and sixth despite their defeats but did see their ratings reduced to 82.77 and 82.12 respectively.
Australia and Argentina stay in seventh and eighth, while Samoa are just outside the top 10, ranked 11th overall, with Georgia closely following in 12th.
Tonga, Portugal, Uruguay, USA, Spain and Romania round out the top 20.
Latest World Rugby rankings (as of 13/03/2023)
1. Ireland 91.82
2. France 90.47
3. New Zealand 88.98
4. South Africa 88.97
5. Scotland 82.77
6. England 82.12
7. Australia 81.80
8. Argentina 80.72
9. Wales 78.08
10. Japan 77.39
11. Samoa 76.03
12. Georgia 75.94
13. Fiji 74.84
14. Italy 74.63
15. Tonga 71.21
16. Portugal 67.92
17. Uruguay 66.24
18. USA 65.92
19. Spain 65.45
20. Romania 64.45