Scotland eye big World Rankings climb

(IRB.COM) Monday 14 June 2010
 
 Scotland eye big World Rankings climb
Dan Parks kicked all of Scotland's 24 points against Argentina

Scotland were the only top 10 northern hemisphere side to record victory at the weekend as they beat Argentina 24-16 at the Estadio Jose Fierro.

Dan Parks kicked all of Scotland's points, six penalties and two drop-goals, and although the result did not affect their IRB World Ranking of ninth, it did move them 1.68 rating points closer to Wales in eighth.

Wales face New Zealand next weekend and with just .11 points separating the two teams, a similar result for Scotland and a defeat for Wales would see the two sides exchange places and Scotland also move above Argentina to sit seventh for the first time since November 2006.

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Argentina, who led 13-12 at half time through tries from Gonzalo Tiesi and Juan Manuel Leguizamon, scored just one Felipe Contepomi penalty in the second half and the result sees them drop one place to seventh below England.

Despite losing 27-17 to Australia at the Subiaco Oval and .15 rating points, England still move up one place into sixth, but all the remaining top five sides remain as they were.

New Zealand recorded their biggest ever victory over Ireland, defeating their visitors 66-28 at the Yarrows Stadium and South Africa remain second after beating France 42-17 thanks to two tries from Gio Aplon and 15 points from Morne Steyn, although they do move .53 rating points closer to New Zealand in first. France remain fourth and Ireland fifth, despite their respective defeats.

Tonga only movers from PNC and NC

The 2010 ANZ Pacific Nations Cup also got underway on Saturday with Fiji defeating Asian Five Nations champions Japan 22-8 in Lautoka and hosts Samoa narrolwy edging out Tonga 24-23 in Apia.

Fiji gain .17 rating points but remain 10th, and Japan also remain 13th depsite losing the same amount of points due to their loss. Tonga drop .30 rating points and fall two places below Georgia and USA into 17th.

13 points from the boot of fly half Kurt Morath was not enough for the visitors as Sevens stars Uale Mai and Mikaele Pesamino combined for the latter to score Samoa's thrid try. A successful conversion from IRB Sevens Player of the Year nominee Lolo Lui from the touch line proved the difference however and the result sees Samoa gain .31 points to close the gap on Italy in 11th.

Namibia, who have already secured their place in next year's Rugby World Cup alongside South Africa, Wales, Fiji and Samoa in Pool D defeated Romania, who are still in the qualifying process for the 20th and final position, 21-17 in the only Nations Cup match affecting the rankings.

The victory meant they wrote a piece of history on the turf of the "Arcul de Triumf" Stadium in Bucharest by defeating the hosts Romania for the first time as well as winning their first ever IRB Nations Cup tie after a nail-biting encounter.

Having conceded a try in the 78th minute from Samuel Maris that was converted by Dam Dumbrava, Namibia looked to have lost their opportunity, but a remarkable try from right wing Llewellyn Winkler, who sidestepped and dummied his way to the line ensured victory for the visitors.

The result does not affect Romania or Namibia's ranking position of 18th and 22nd respectively, however, but the gap between the two sides was closed by 4 rating points after the opening matches in this year's tournament.

Exhilarating start to Victoria Cup

The only other match to affect the IRB World Rankings this week was the opening Victoria Cup match between Kenya and Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe scored the first points of the match after 28 minutes when Danny Robertson converted Lloyd Machanjaira's try before Peter Abuoga cut the deficit to four points on the stroke of half time.

Robertson restored the seven point margin for the visitors after a succession of dominant scrums resulted in a penalty after 52 minutes but Kenya hit back immediately through Innocent Simiyu.

One of three brother's playing in the match together, Simiyu was the beneficiary of some fine work from Wilson K'Opondo and Daniel Kiptoo to cross in the corner, but Abuoga missed the conversion to leave the scores 10-8.

Despite being reduced to 14 men, the hosts were spurred on by the crowd and after a spell of territory in Zimbabwe's 22, Kenya were awarded a penalty which replacement Moses Kola converted to the delight of the home crowd.

The 11-10 victory was Kenya's third successive home win over Zimbabwe and means they climb two ranking places to 42nd above Croatia and Uganda, whilst Zimbabwe dropped .42 rating points and one place to 48th below Madagascar. Uganda get their Victoria Cup campaign underway next week against Zimbabwe.

The bottom ranked side in the IRB World Rankings, Finland, lost to Israel 13-6 in the European Nations Cup, but the result had no impact on either side's position of 95th and 73rd respectively.