France captain Pascal Papé with his Irish counterpart Paul O'Connell. Billy Stickland/INPHO

France move above Ireland in IRB rankings before Six Nations clash

Philippe Saint-André’s men are one place above Joe Schmidt’s on the official list.

IRELAND WILL FACE the side directly above them in the IRB’s world rankings this Saturday, after France moved two places up the official list.

Joe Schmidt’s men travel to the Stade de France in Paris to take on the fifth-best team in the world this weekend, with a Six Nations title on the line. The French have moved up from seventh in the rankings following their 19-17 victory over Scotland last weekend.

Philippe Saint-André’s side had dropped to seventh position after their comprehensive defeat to Wales in round three of the competition, but Jean-Marc Doussain’s late penalty kick at Murrayfield means they are now ranked behind only New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and England.

As a result, both Ireland [now sixth] and Wales [now seventh] drop down one spot each on the latest list released by world rugby’s governing body, despite the fact that the former beat Italy 46-7 on Saturday as they ran in seven tries.

The margins that decide the positions remain very tight, with Ireland just under seven tenths of a ranking point behind France coming into this weekend. A win in Paris would see them move above their Gallic rivals.

The only other change in the IRB world rankings sees Spain move up to 21st, with Portugal dropping to 22nd. Coincidentally, those sides will also meet this weekend as they clash in the European Nations Cup on Saturday.

Do you think this is a fair reflection of the standing of the teams coming into Saturday’s game in Paris? Are France a better team than Ireland?

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