Switzerland and Moldova on rise in rankings
Switzerland and Moldova end the year with climbs in the latest IRB World Rankings after overcoming Andorra and the Czech Republic respectively over the weekend in the final European Nations Cup matches of 2011.
The Swiss are the biggest climbers of the week, rising five places to 49th on the back of a tight 22-21 victory in Andorra, fly half Iain Mowat’s late penalty securing the win that increases Switzerland’s cushion at the top of the Division 2B standings.
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The victory lifts Switzerland above Trinidad & Tobago, Croatia, Singapore, Venezuela and Senegal into their highest position since April 2008, while condemning their hosts to a one-place fall to 58th, swapping places with Chinese Taipei.
Moldova also ran out winners away from home, beating the Czech Republic 13-6 in Ricany to keep them in the mix for promotion to the top tier of the European Nations Cup, alongside the likes of Georgia, Russia and Portugal, come next summer.
Their reward is a three-place elevation to 27th, taking them above Poland, Hong Kong and Brazil to equal their highest ever position of late 2007. The Czech Republic slip three places to 37th with Zimbabwe, Sweden and Germany the beneficiaries.
The European Nations Cup may be taking a break until February, but there is still plenty of scope for changes in the IRB World Rankings before the end of the year with Wales taking on Australia and the Oceania Cup in Papua Guinea in the next seven days.