Latvia and Thailand jump up world rankings
Latvia and Thailand are the biggest climbers in the latest IRB World Rankings after upsetting higher ranked opponents Andorra and Kazakhstan respectively in Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifiers over the weekend.
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Latvia ran out 22-11 winners over their hosts Andorra in Division 2B of the European Nations Cup 2014 on Saturday to jump 10 places to 62nd in the rankings. They are now the higher ranked of the two sides after Andorra dropped 10 places to 71st.
Thailand were the other big movers after upsetting Kazakhstan 33-10 on day one of the HSBC Asian 5 Nations 2013 Division I in Colombo. Thailand were ranked 24 places below the top seeds going into the match, but that gap has now been slashed to just 11 places.
The Thais now occupy their highest ever position since the rankings were introduced in October 2003 after climbing seven places to 52nd, while Kazakhstan drop six places to 41st and sit outside of the top 40 for the first time since early 2007.
Sri Lanka also tasted victory on day one of the HSBC Asian 5 Nations in 2013, delighting the members of the country’s First Family present at Havelocks RFC in Colombo by beating Chinese Taipei 39-8.
The tournament hosts, bidding to return to the Top 5 in 2014 when the Asia 1 qualifier for England 2015 will be determined, climb three places to 44th as a result, with Chinese Taipei remaining 60th.
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The only other nation on the rise in the rankings this week is Poland, albeit only after a penalty at the death from David Chatier snatched a 13-12 victory over Ukraine in the European Nations Cup Division 1B.
Poland climb one place to 25th as a result, swapping places with Chile, to equal their best ever position. Ukraine remain 30th but slip closer to Zimbabwe below them after the defeat.
The other European Nations Cup match over the weekend saw Finland beat Greece 13-11 in Athens. The win does not lift Finland off the bottom of the IRB World Rankings, but they close to within four tenths of Greece, who drop from joint 96th to 99th.