Japan see off nearest rivals in World Rugby Women’s Rankings powered by Capgemini
Sunday’s two Rugby World Cup 2021 warm-ups brought wins for Japan and Canada but very little change to the World Rugby Women’s Rankings powered by Capgemini.
Japan beat South Africa 15-6, while Canada overcame Italy 34-24 in the later of the two kick offs on Sunday.
The Sakura Fifteen trailed the Springbok Women by a point at half-time but a more assured second-half performance prevented them from slipping to a first defeat in four appearances.
Prolific flanker Seina Saito scored twice, in the ninth and 64th minutes, to take her tally to seven tries across the last seven tests, while Minori Yamamoto kicked a conversion and a penalty.
South Africa’s points came from two Libbie Janse van Rensburg penalties.
Japan remain in 12th place in the rankings following their fourth straight win, still one place above South Africa but with the gap between the teams widened to 4.67 points.
The two teams meet again next Saturday at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium in Saitama.
Meanwhile, two of Japan’s Pool B opponents at RWC 2021 were also in action at the weekend with Canada marking their first home international in seven years with a win.
A double from Paige Farries plus tries from Sara Kaljuvee, Emily Tuttosi and captain Sophie de Goede, in addition to nine points from the boots of De Goede and Brianna Miller, secured the victory for Kevin Rouet’s side against Italy at the Starlight Stadium in Langford.
With the scores tied at 12-12 following tries from Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi and Maria Magatti, Italy were right in the contest at half-time.
But Canada got a hold of the match after the break and further tries from Sara Tounesi and Elissa Giordano were never going to be enough for Italy to get the result they needed to climb the rankings.
“We are pleased with that,” Canada head coach Kevin Rouet said post-match. “But we know we let Italy come back in the game with some soft penalties and easy tries. So, it’s a good lesson for us for the World Cup because it’s very manageable and fixable so we can move forward with that.”
Canada stay in fourth place in the rankings with Italy remaining in sixth. Neither team’s rating was altered by the result.
Next up for Canada is a home encounter with Wales at the Wanderers Grounds in Halifax on 27 August, their final test match on home soil before they head to New Zealand for Rugby World Cup 2021.
Italy return to action on 3 September when they travel to Nice to play France.