Jamaica and Barbados rise in rankings
Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifying continued in the Caribbean over the weekend with Jamaica snatching a 19-18 victory over Cayman Islands and Barbados proving too strong for St Vincent & The Grenadines to shoot up the latest IRB World Rankings.
Jamaica, beaten 68-14 by Mexico in the first RWC 2015 qualifying match last month, had started well against Cayman in Kingston to establish a 10-0 lead, but the match proved a titanic battle with Ryan Grant’s penalty in the dying minutes proving the match-winner.
Twenty-three places had separated the two sides before the NACRA Championship encounter, but that has now shrunk to just 10 with Jamaica climbing six places to 84th and Cayman Islands sliding seven places to 74th.
Barbados captain Dwight Forde proved the match-winner with a hat-trick of tries in the 34-3 victory over St Vincent & The Grenadines at the Arnos Vale Stadium in Kingston, although Sean Ward, Stephen Millar and Che Springer also crossed the try-line.
SVG had been ranked two places higher than their visitors at 76th going into the match, but they have slumped seven places to 83rd with Barbados climbing 11 places to Cayman Islands previous ranking of 67th.
The Caribbean was not the only place where matches were taking place this weekend with both Belgium and the Netherlands tasting victory in their European Nations Cup Division 1B encounters with Poland and Moldova respectively.
Belgium’s 20-13 victory over Poland in Brussels has not altered their position of 24th, but it has closed them to within four tenths of Chile above them. Poland remain 28th, but slip closer towards Ukraine below.
While Belgium have finished top of the Division 1B champions to earn promotion to the top tier alongside the likes of Georgia and Romania, the Netherlands tasted victory for the first time in the two-year competition by beating Moldova 40-26.
The six-try victory lifts the Netherlands above the Ivory Coast, Uganda and Malta into 42nd, while Moldova fall four places to 37th with Zimbabwe, Brazil, Sweden and Tunisia the beneficiaries.
Tunisia were themselves in action against the United Arab Emirates on Friday, winning 15-7 on home soil. However, the match has no impact on the IRB World Rankings as UAE are not yet a Member Union of the International Rugby Board and therefore not ranked.
Andorra were due to face Armenia in Division 2B of the European Nations Cup, but following the withdrawal of the Armenians, the tournament organisers awarded Andorra a 25-0 victory. This match would not have impacted the rankings as Armenia are not yet an IRB Full Member Union and so are not ranked.