Paraguay keep RWC 2015 hopes alive
Paraguay had three reasons to celebrate with victory over Venezuela not only securing the South American B Championship title but also keeping their RWC 2015 dream alive and earning a one-place climb in the latest IRB World Rankings to 39th.
They went into the tournament as favourites and more than lived up to that billing with convincing wins over Colombia (54-17), Peru (69-3) and hosts Venezuela (73-8) to set up a one-off match with Caribbean champions Bermuda in the next stage of the Americas qualification process for RWC 2015.
Paraguay will host this match on 29 September as the highest placed of the two in the IRB World Rankings and will hope home advantage will be enough to progress to the next stage and a one-off play-off with Brazil, the bottom side in the South American Championship this year.
Rodrigo Llamosas, Martín Ortíz, Félix Zárate and Carlos Bareiro all crossed for two tries at the Estadio Arístides Pineda in Valencia on Saturday, with Diego Argoña and Gerard Cuttier also getting in on the scoring act.
Vicente Amigo kicked 18 points in the win, which has seen Paraguay swap places with the Czech Republic to occupy their highest position for more than a year. Venezuela’s defeat, in tandem with a 26-3 loss to Colombia on Wednesday, means they fall 10 places to 53rd.
Colombia are the biggest climbers in the latest IRB World Rankings after beating two teams above them – and by more than 15 points – in the space of the last seven days, victories which see the Toucans rocket 17 places to 57th.
The most recent win – a 49-9 rout of Peru – means that Colombia finish as runners-up to Paraguay in the South American B Championship standings and are now ranked higher than both Venezuela and Peru.
Sebastián Mejía scored two of Colombia’s six tries with Johan Larrota, Pablo Lemoine, Jesús Celis and Brayan Campiño also touching down in a win that lifts the Toucans to their highest ranking for almost two years. Peru have fallen 10 to 64th after ending the tournament without a win.
There were two other matches this weekend, but the victories by New Zealand and Australia in round four of The Rugby Championship on Saturday had not impact on the IRB World Rankings.
New Zealand’s 21-11 win over South Africa in Dunedin has taken their unbeaten run to 14 Tests and preserved their 5.81 cushion at the top of the rankings, a position they have occupied since 16 November 2009.
Australia were in danger of losing second spot when trailing Argentina 19-6 on the Gold Coast, but rallied to deny Los Pumas a maiden win in The Rugby Championship. As a result the two sides stay second and eighth respectively going into the penultimate round on 29 September.