Rankings reward for Sri Lanka and Philippines
Sri Lanka's winning start under new coach Phil Greening brought its own reward in the IRB World Rankings while the Philippines were the big movers of the weekend.
The HSBC Asian 5 Nations Division 1 matches at the weekend brought a flurry of activity in placings, with the Philippines rising 10 places, but a narrow defeat in the European Nations Cup Division 2B cost Serbia dear.
Sri Lanka’s 36-8 victory over Chinese Taipei in Manila took them three places up the table to 43rd, shunting Malta, Uganda and Ivory Coast down one spot.
Their comprehensive win at Manila’s Rizal National Stadium puts them on 48.02 ranking points, and continued success in the Asian tournament would nudge them further up the ladder.
Historically, Sri Lanka lost seven of their first eight fixtures against Chinese Taipei, only once finishing within a score.
Most recently, however, Sri Lanka have been on top, with Sunday’s result making it back-to-back victories – both registered on neutral territory, and both with a winning margin of at least four scores.
Home side success
Perhaps the most noteworthy result of the weekend was when the Philippines capitalised on home advantage to surprise Singapore in the first match between the two countries.
Going into Sunday’s match the Singaporeans were ranked world number 52 and the Philippines 20 places lower, but a 37-20 victory elevated them 10 places in the rankings.
As matches with a 15-point margin have added significance, Singapore, on 43.77 points, drop to 56th spot in the world – just six places ahead of the winners, who leapfrog Asian rivals China, Malaysia and Thailand.
More rankings movement can be expected when Sri Lanka play Singapore and the Philippines face Chinese Taipei on Wednesday, with the remaining round-robin games the following Saturday. The Asian 5 Nations Division 1 tournament is the region’s first qualifying event for Rugby World Cup 2015.
Serbia down six
Meanwhile, Serbia’s 9-7 defeat by Andorra in Belgrade consigned it to 72nd place in the rankings – a drop of six places. Serbia shed more than one rating point to wind up on 40.14.
Serbia have won one of their four matches against Andorra, and this was by far the closest match between them – in previous encounters the winning margin has been at least 14 points.
This Saturday, more Europeans Nations Cup action will see Malta out to claw back lost ground, while in Kampala, Uganda (45th) take on Kenya (38th).
The IRB World Rankings are published every Monday at midday UK time.