Huge gains at stake in rankings

(IRB.COM) Friday 22 October 2010
 
 Huge gains at stake in rankings
The home side has come out on top when Croatia and Sweden have previously met

Matches in the European Nations Cup and South American B Championship this weekend could both result in large climbs and falls in the IRB World Rankings, depending on who emerges victorious in Croatia, Slovenia and Colombia.

Croatia are the highest ranked of the eight nations in action, but will surrender that mantle if they lose by more than 15 points to Sweden in the opening Division 2A encounter of the European Nations Cup 2012 in Zagreb on Saturday.

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In this instance Sweden would rise seven to 42nd – their highest placing in 12 months – and take over Croatia’s previous position, their hosts sliding four places to slip closer to their lowest ever standing (47th) since the rankings were introduced in October 2003.

Sweden, though, would slide two places with any margin of defeat with Croatia needing to win by more than 15 points on home soil if they are to improve their position, taking them above Paraguay. A smaller margin of victory would leave them trailing Paraguay by less than two tenths.

The weekend’s other European Nations Cup match, the Division 2B affair between Slovenia and Serbia in Ljubljana, could also result in a climb of as many as eight places for the winner, depending on the margin of victory.

Serbia currently lie 64th, six places above their hosts, but a victory by more than 15 points in the first meeting between the two nations could lift them to 56th, equalling their best ever position in the IRB World Rankings.

A heavy loss would see Slovenia slide six places to 76th – their worst ever standing. A smaller margin of defeat would still result in a small drop, but if they could emerge victorious then a seven-place elevation awaits them with Serbia sliding up to six places as a result.

The South American B Championship, meanwhile, kicks off in Medellín on Sunday with hosts Colombia tackling Costa Rica and Venezuela facing Peru. However, only one of these can impact the rankings as Costa Rica are not yet a full Member Union of the IRB and therefore not ranked.

Venezuela have won their last two meetings with Peru and another victory will see their ranking of 60th improve by two or three places, depending on the winning margin and the outcome of Serbia’s visit to Slovenia.

Peru currently lie 18 places behind Venezuela, but a loss on the opening day of the South American B Championship by more than 15 points will see them fall two places to a new low of 80th with Cameroon and Botswana the beneficiaries.

By contrast a victory will see Peru surge up the rankings with a minimum of a seven place climb. However, a win by more than 15 points could see Peru become the higher ranked of the two South American rivals in 69th with Venezuela sliding potentially nine places for a lowest ever position.

The IRB World Rankings update every Monday at 12:00 UK time.