Italy equal all-time high in World Rugby rankings

Italy equal all-time high in World Rugby rankings

Italy have matched their previous all-time best of eighth in the World Rugby Men's Rankings following their 24-21 win over Wales in Cardiff.

The Azzurri last achieved eighth place back in August 2007 and have previously only held the position three times and for a total of just four weeks.

It was a result that also lifted Italy above Wales in the rankings for the first time since February 2013 and given that neither side plays again until July, it is guaranteed that the status quo will remain that way for a good few months.

With wins over Scotland and Wales and a historic away draw against France, as well as avoiding an eighth consecutive wooden spoon, Italy have climbed from 11th in the rankings to be where they are now.

The Azzurri have picked up 3.48 points since the start of the year - the largest gain of any of the 14 teams competing in the Rugby Europe Men's Championship and the Six Nations.

Wales, on the other hand, have slipped to a record-equalling low of 10th having lost the most points (3.38 points) over the last seven weeks.

Six Nations champions Ireland, who secured their second straight title with a hard-fought 17-13 win over Scotland, started the year in second place behind the Springboks and have remained there ever since, albeit with a fractionally higher rating of 90.69 points - a gain of just 0.12 points.

Ireland still trail South Africa by 3.85 points but can claw back further ground if they do well in the two July tests against the world champions, in Durban and Pretoria.

England, meanwhile, looked all set to beat France and replace them in fourth in the rankings as they led a thrilling final match of the tournament in Lyon. However, Thomas Ramos nailed a very late penalty from just shy of halfway to hand Les Bleus a 33-31 win and second place in the Men's Six Nations standings.

An up and down campaign for France, which kicked off with a record defeat to Ireland, ended with them gaining just 0.11 points over the duration of the tournament.

While France remained in fourth in the rankings throughout, England stayed in fifth place for the duration, gaining 0.29 points - with their famous round-four win over Ireland compensating for away defeats to Scotland and Les Bleus.

Scotland didn't go backwards in terms of their rankings position, ending the Six Nations where they started it in sixth. But they were the only team other than Wales to see their rating go down - by 0.61 points.

Via World Rugby

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