Japan climb to new high in rankings

Japan’s victory over Scotland means they go into the RWC 2019 quarter-finals in their highest ever position in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings.

The Brave Blossoms created history on Sunday after a 28-21 victory over Scotland saw them top Pool A and progress to the quarter-finals for the first time.

The win, their first ever over Scotland, also helped them climb above France into seventh place in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings – their highest ever position since the rankings were introduced in October 2003. 

Japan now sit only 1.44 points behind Australia in sixth with the top eight in the rankings mirroring the eight nations who will contest the Rugby World Cup 2019 quarter-finals on 20-21 October.

Scotland remain ninth after the loss, although their advantage over Argentina has been slashed from almost 3.83 rating points to just over nine tenths after Los Pumas ended their campaign with a 47-17 victory over USA earlier in the week.

Tonga, meanwhile, have jumped three places to 13th on the back of their 31-19 victory over USA in Higashiosaka City. The Eagles drop four places to 17th after suffering two defeats in a row, with Spain climbing to a new high of 16th as a result.

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While all eyes were on the climax of the pool stage at Japan 2019, there were six matches played in the Rugby Europe International Championship on Saturday with all bar Turkey’s 36-12 victory over Andorra in Conference 2 South counting towards the rankings.

Bulgaria were the biggest climbers of the week, rising five places to 82nd after overwhelming Serbia 71-7 in their Conference 2 South meeting in Sofia. Serbia drop four places to 89th in defeat.

Denmark and Finland both climbed four places after beating Norway and Moldova respectively in Conference 2 North. The Danes, 44-3 winners away in Trondheim, now sit 74th with Finland reaching a new high of 86th after edging Moldova 20-15 in Helsinki. Norway drop two to 75th and Moldova four to 59th. 

The two other winners were Croatia and Hungary in Conference 1 South and North respectively. Croatia climb two places to 45th thanks to a 39-10 victory over Israel, while Hungary rise three after a 38-13 defeat of Latvia. 

Israel remain in 61st despite the defeat in Zagreb, while Latvia now sit directly below them after falling five places on the back of their loss to Hungary in Budapest.  

During RWC 2019, where points exchanges are doubled to reflect the importance of the tournament, the World Rugby Men’s Rankings will update after every match.