Ireland’s recent drop in the world rankings could affect their seeding in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Ireland’s narrow and painful defeat to Wales saw Declan Kidney’s team drop two places to eighth in the world.
The second tier of seeds starts at ninth, with Tonga, Samoa and Scotland directly following the Irish.
Ireland’s fall in the rankings comes despite Kidney’s charges winning the Grand Slam three years ago and beating Australia in the southern hemisphere during the World Cup.
With tough away trips to France and England to follow in this year’s Six Nations, Ireland’s place in the first tier of seeds for the World Cup could be in jeopardy.