Wales close on top 6 and gain RWC momentum
Four weeks out from the start of Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand, Wales scored a morale-boosting win over England in Cardiff, while France marched into the top four in the IRB World Rankings, overtaking the Englishmen who fall to fifth.
Wales remain in seventh place on the back of their impressive 19-9 win against England at the Millennium Stadium, although they do close the gap on Ireland above them.
On a busy weekend of warm-up matches, 12 of 20 nations bound for New Zealand lined up in international tests, with nine of the top 20 in the world either rising or falling in the world list.
France's 19-12 win against Ireland in Bordeaux means they move above England and closer to third-placed South Africa, who lost rating points following their 14-9 home Tri Nations defeat to Australia in Durban.
Outside the world's top 10, six more of the nations bound for the World Cup played important preparatory matches.
Fiji and Canada are the week's biggest climbers, both up two places in the World Rankings following wins against Tonga and USA respectively.
The Fijians' 27-12 win on home soil against higher-ranked Tonga means they rise to 12th in the world.
Meanwhile, Canada's 27-7 away victory against Eddie O'Sullivan's US Eagles sees them climb to 14th, overtaking the Tongans who fall three places to 15th.
In the weekend's other match, John Kirwan's current side Japan lost out to his former charges Italy, 31-24 in Cesena.
Italy remain in 11th place, while Pacific Nations Cup champions Japan fall one to 13th.
The IRB World Rankings update every Monday at 12:00 UK time.
- Oceania 1
- Playoff Winner
- South Africa
- Asia 1
- Americas 2
- New Zealand
- Europe 1
- Africa 1
- Europe 2