Uruguay forge way into top 20
Argentina may have dominated the South American Rugby Championship but it was Uruguay who improved their standing in the latest IRB World Rankings.
Uruguay finished runners-up in the tournament, held in Chile, but their results nudge them up three places to 19th in the latest table.
Despite losing to Argentina, Los Teros edged out the host nation 27-26 at the Centro de Alto Rendimiento del Rugby, La Reina, then sealed their progress with a 27-15 win over Brazil.
Chile’s disappointment with third place on home soil translates into a rankings fall of one place to 24th.
Although champions Argentina finished with a points difference of 199 from three resounding victories, they remain seventh in the world rankings. Of more relevance to the Pumas’ position will be their two June internationals against sixth-placed France.
Uruguay’s top-20 standing is noteworthy; they made the Rugby World Cup in 1999 and 2003 but missed out in 2007 and 2011.
Uruguay and Spain are the only sides in the current top 20 who were not at New Zealand 2011 (Namibia and Russia, who were, each drop a place to 21st and 22nd respectively).
Rankings and RWC Pool Allocation Draw
The IRB World Rankings will be used this year to decide the seeding for the 12 automatic qualifiers at England 2015, while regional qualifying for that tournament is already well under way.
The North America Caribbean Rugby Association Championship is one of the events that also serves as a RWC preliminary, and the Cayman Islands’ 27-7 home win over the Bahamas gives their campaign a boost as well as edging them up two spots to 66.
Elsewhere, Asian 5 Nations Top 5 action over the weekend saw home side Hong Kong despatch Kazakhstan 55-0 at the Mong Kok Stadium to rise one spot to 28 at the expense of Poland. The Kazakhs are thus demoted three places to 36th.
Further down the rankings, Bulgaria edges up one place to 80 by closing out their European Nations Cup match 26-24 against Finland in Turku, on the south-west coast coast of the Scandinavian country. Finland stay 96th.
Cyprus comprehensively beat Greece 72-5 but the result makes no difference to the rankings as neither is a full IRB member.
Similarly, Korea’s 47-21 victory over UAE in their Asian 5 Nations clash at Seongnam Stadium has no bearing on their standing as the latter is not a full member.
The IRB World Rankings are published every Monday at midday UK time.