Spain have risen one place to 22nd in the latest IRB World Rankings after surviving a second-half fight back from Uruguay in their one-off Test at the Estadio Nacional Universidad Complutense in Madrid on Saturday.
Four places had separated the two opponents after Uruguay climbed three places on the back of a victory over Portugal in Lisbon the previous weekend, but Spain raced into a 16-0 before half-time with Charlie Malie kicking three penalties and converting Ryan Leroux’s try.
Uruguay, though, fought back to within three points with 12 minutes to go but were unable to find the crucial score to claim a first win over Spain since the pool stages of Rugby World Cup 1999. The defeat means Los Teros fall two places to 21st with Namibia and Russia the beneficiaries.
Spain and Russia were not the only European sides on the rise in the latest rankings with Poland the biggest climbers of the week with a two-place elevation to a new high of 27th following a 34-8 victory over Germany in Division 1B of the European Nations Cup.
Poland’s win on home soil in Gdansk has lifted them above Hong Kong and Brazil, while condemning their visitors Germany to a one place fall to 37th, swapping places with Sweden to occupy their lowest ever position since the IRB World Rankings were introduced in October 2003.
The weekend’s other European Nations Cup match, also in Division 1B, saw the Czech Republic make the most of home advantage to beat the Netherlands 22-10. However, with the Czechs ranked 11 places above their visitors in 34th the gains were minimal and the sides remained stationary.