Trio on rise after RWC 2015 qualifier wins
Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifiers over the last seven days have resulted in significant changes in the latest IRB World Rankings with the Philippines and Cayman Islands shooting up and Singapore slumping 11 places as a result of two defeats in the HSBC Asian 5 Nations Division I.
The Philippines have climbed seven places to 55th on the back of victories over Chinese Taipei (34-12) and top seeds Sri Lanka (28-18) which saw them crowned Division I champions to earn promotion to the elite tier of Asian rugby in 2013.
Three victories on home soil over higher ranked opponents mean that the Volcanoes have climbed 17 places in the space of two weeks as they continue their rise up the ranks in Asia, having suffered just one loss in 11 A5N matches since the competition began in 2008.
Sri Lanka have slipped two places to 45th, the loss to the Philippines in the promotion decider at the Rizal National Stadium in Manila on Saturday cancelling out any potential gain from having beaten Singapore 35-10 earlier in the week.
The other A5N match on Saturday saw Chinese Taipei safeguard their place in Division I by beating Singapore 49-31, although they still slip one place to 59th as a consequence of the Philippines loss. Singapore, the first side with Top 5 experience to be relegated to Division II, have slumped to 67th.
Cayman Islands were the other big climbers after victory in a RWC 2015 qualifier, the 46-13 victory over Mexico in Grand Cayman not only ensuring they remain alive in the Americas qualification process but also resulting in a six place climb to 68th.
While the Cayman Islands can now look forward to encounters with Bermuda and Bahamas in the next phase of the NACRA Championship 2012, the defeat has ended Mexico’s involvement in the qualification process and also seen them slide six places to 76th.
Barbados were also convincing winners on Saturday, beating St Vincent & The Grenadines 51-0 to set up matches with Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana next month. The victory lifts Barbados two places to 65th with SVG remaining 83rd, albeit only because Hungary fell eight places to 89th after losing 44-5 to Israel in the European Nations Cup.
Israel’s victory in Esztergom has lifted them three places to 58th and also set up a Division 2C title decider with Denmark in June, the Danes themselves overcoming Austria 28-22 on Saturday. Denmark, though, fall one to 61st as a result of the climbs of Israel and the Philippines.
Malta were the only other side on the rise as a result of European Nations Cup victories, their 22-14 win over Sweden in Valetta bringing the reward of a three-place rise to 41st and condemning their Division 2A visitors to a two-place fall to 37th.
Poland, meanwhile, finished their Division 1B campaign on a high with a 32-19 victory over the Netherlands. This result did not improve their position of 28th, but did reduce the deficit to Morocco above to less than a rating point.
The Netherlands, who were already relegated to Division 2A next season, have slipped two places to 44th as a result of the loss and the victories of Malta and Uganda, the latter beating Kenya 19-5 in their Elgon Cup and Victoria Cup encounter in Kampala.
Uganda’s victory in the first leg of the Elgon Cup has lifted them two places to 43rd with Kenya falling by the same margin to 40th. Uganda’s women were also successful in the annual Elgon Cup series, beating Kenya 15-6 in the curtain raiser.
The weekend’s other match involved the bottom two sides in the IRB World Rankings with Luxembourg beating Finland 26-3 in the European Nations Cup, a win which stretches the margin between the sides to more than five rating points.