Georgia fall in rankings after ENC loss
Romania may not have improved their position of 19th in the IRB World Rankings by beating Georgia 22-10 on Saturday, but they have boosted their hopes of qualifying for Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand.
The Oaks had lost their previous three encounters with Georgia, but flanker Ovidiu Tonita's first half try and 17 points from the boot of Dan Dumbrava ended that run at the stadionul National Arcul de Triumf in Bucharest.
Romania's victory leaves them three points behind Portugal in the race for third place in the European Nations Cup to remain in the hunt for RWC 2011 qualification with the sides to meet in Lisbon on Saturday.
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The defeat was Georgia's first in the European Nations Cup 2010 and allows Russia - the 48-11 conquerors of Germany - to draw level on 24 points at the top of the standings. Both sides have already qualified for RWC 2011, but their meeting in Turkey on Saturday will determine who arrives in New Zealand as Europe 1 or Europe 2.
Georgia have slipped two places in the latest IRB World Rankings to 18th on the back of the defeat, with USA and Russia the beneficiaries. The fall could have been worse, as had Romania won by more than 15 points then they too would have climbed above the Lelos.
Romania have instead closed to within four tenths of Georgia, while holding a near four-point cushion over the side below them in Portugal, who climbed above Uruguay again on the back of beating neighbours Spain 33-15 in Madrid.
First half tries from Antonio Aguilar, Conrad Stickling and Frederico Oliviera set Portugal on their way to a vital win as they attempt to qualify for a second successive Rugby World Cup. Spain's loss means they fall two places to 25th, with Chile and Korea the beneficiaries.
England down after draw
The weekend's other European Nations Cup match saw the Olivier Magne coached Greece beat Luxembourg 17-9 in Athens. However, this did not impact the IRB World Rankings as Greece are not yet a Full Member of the International Rugby Board and therefore not ranked.
The only other positional change in the latest IRB World Rankings came as a result of England's 15-15 draw with Scotland at Murrayfield in the RBS Six Nations on Saturday, with Martin Johnson's side falling one place to seventh by swapping places with Argentina.
The draw did not improve Scotland's position of 10th, although it did slightly narrow the deficit to Fiji above them. Ireland's 27-12 victory over Wales at Croke Park did not alter their positions of fifth and eighth respectively, the home win improving the Irish rating by just over a tenth.
France remain the leading northern hemisphere nation in the IRB World Rankings after beating Italy 46-20 to keep alive their hopes of a first Grand Slam since 2004. The victory did not have any impact on the rating of either team with France remaining seven places and 12 points above the Italians.
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