Sweden and Fiji lead ranking charge

(IRB.COM) Monday 3 June 2013
 
 Sweden and Fiji lead ranking charge
Fiji's Sireli Bobo motors away from Japan full back Ayumu Goromaru during the IRB Pacific Nations Cup match in Lautoka, Fiji Photo: ZoomFiji

Despite a lull in the fixture list before the June internationals kick in, there were still valuable IRB World Rankings points to be gained in Europe, Oceania and the Americas at the weekend.

With four matches counting towards the rankings, home advantage proved decisive.

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The European Nations Cup resumed action with Sweden hosting Poland in Stockholm, a match that doubled as a Rugby World Cup qualifying round.

The Scandinavians, who were ranked 35th, laid the foundations for victory by running up a 16-6 first-half advantage in this Division 1B match.

Poland crossed after the break to make the try tally one apiece, but Sweden’s first-half kicking made the difference as they sealed a 19-11 victory to remain on the road to England 2015 and rise to 32nd in the world. Poland drop one place to 28th.

There were two clashes in the North America Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) Championship on Saturday.

Convincing winners

Trinidad and Tobago were convincing winners over Guyana, running up a 20-0 scoreline on home turf.

The result, at the University of the West Indies Ground in St Augustine, Trinidad, lifted the victors from 54th in the world to 51st, but Guyana drop from 58 to 60. 

The Cayman Islands can celebrate not just a notable 20-14 win over reigning NACRA champions Bermuda but also a four-place rise in the rankings.

Playing at the Truman Bodden Stadium in the Cayman capital of George Town, the hosts registered something of an upset against their higher-ranked opponents.

The Cayman Islands began the weekend 65th in the world, with Bermuda just over 5.5 ranking points higher up the table in 48th, but that gap closes to seven places as the winners go 61st in the world and the losers go 54th.

In the IRB Pacific Nations Cup, Fiji took the opportunity to improve their world standing with a 22-8 win over Japan at Lautoka.

Asserted authority

The sides went into half time with just an unconverted try by Fiji the difference, but after the break the home side asserted their authority to run away with the game.

Fiji finished with four tries to one and the resulting increase in ranking points sees them rise one place to 13th and displace Canada.

The Japanese remain 15th in the world but their margin over 16th-placed USA is reduced to one ranking point.

- The IRB World Rankings are published every Monday at midday UK time.