Solomon Islands climb to new high in rankings
Solomon Islands have shot up five places in the latest IRB World Rankings to a new high of 69th after recording victories over Niue and Vanuatu in the Oceania Cup 2011 in the Papua New Guinea capital Port Moresby over the last seven days.
Their previous best position since the rankings were introduced was 71st back in 2005, but upsetting the higher ranked Niue 22-19 on day one and beating Vanuatu 48-20 on Saturday after a 33-15 loss to Papua New Guinea makes them one of only two sides to climb this week.
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Latvia are the other by virtue of Niue slipping two places to 70th after defeats by the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, whose 36-7 win over Niue on Saturday secured them the Oceania Cup 2011 title with an unbeaten record after also beating Vanuatu 78-3.
Zambia, Colombia, St Vincent & The Grenadines, India and Barbados also fall one place as a result of the Solomon Islands’ climb. PNG and Vanuatu remain in 47th and 91st respectively, the former inching slightly closer to Sri Lanka above them and Vanuatu closer to Luxembourg below.
The weekend’s other match between Australia and Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday did not result in any positional changes with the sides ending Rugby World Cup year in second and eighth respectively.
Australia scored three tries while Leigh Halfpenny was in the sin-bin to eventually win 24-18 and deny Shane Williams a win in his final Test for Wales, a result which improves the Wallabies’ rating by just over a half a rating point to reduce the deficit to world champions New Zealand to 3.44.
Wales, who would have climbed to fifth had they avenged their Bronze Final loss to Australia, are now 0.67 below Argentina above them but still have a cushion of almost three rating points over ninth ranked Tonga.
There is still potential for changes in the IRB World Rankings before the end of the year with Brazil, Hong Kong, Kenya and the United Arab Emirates in action in the inaugural Emirates Airline Cup of Nations, which begins on Saturday at 7he Sevens in Dubai.