One of the fourty updates for the month of February says:
"Refreshed per-URL country information. [Launch codename “longdew”, project codename “country-id data refresh”] We updated the country associations for URLs to use more recent data."
Olivier Andrieu, SEO consultant for Abondance.com, translates it in French: "Meilleure identification du pays au travers des URL". I understand a country is better identified because of the .fr country code Top-Level Domain.
Adapted to a new string like "rugby" or "wine"...would it make a difference in terms of positioning on Google?
Mr Cutts, would you help us with this one please?
Search quality highlights: 40 changes for February: report.