There were five matches over the weekend – four of them Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifiers – but only one resulted in any positional changes to the IRB World Rankings with Lithuania climbing two places to 46th after edging Croatia 15-14 in Division 2A of the European Nations Cup.
Both sides had already seen their hopes of remaining in the RWC 2015 qualifying picture ended before this encounter with the Netherlands topping the division to enter the European round three play-off in September, but the match proved a hard fought encounter.
Croatia fought back to within one point with Caleb Brown’s try four minutes from time in Vilnius, but missed the conversion and as a result see their ranking fall by four places for the second week in a row, this time to a new low of 53rd.
Senegal and Bermuda fall one place as a result of Lithuania’s rise, while Israel, Malta, Papua New Guinea and the Czech Republic are the beneficiaries of Croatia’s fall. For Israel, this means they enter the top 50 for the first time since the rankings were introduced in October 2003.
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Chile did slightly improve their rating following a 38-22 win over Brazil on the opening day of the South American Championship, but not enough to climb above Belgium. Brazil also stay where they were in 33rd with both sides now heading to Uruguay for the remainder of the Championship.
The other match in the South American Championship saw a young Argentina side packed with debutants beat Uruguay 29-18 in Montevideo. The matches involving Argentina are not RWC 2015 qualifiers, with the other three bidding to reach the Americas 2 play-off against Canada or USA.
The weekend’s two other qualifiers for England 2015 were in the HSBC Asian 5 Nations Top 5 but the differences between the teams meant that they did not have an impact on the latest IRB World Rankings.
Korea made their first appearance of the 2013 competition and duly overwhelmed the United Arab Emirates 75-10 in Al Ain on Friday, a side ranked 70 places and 26.72 rating points below them. With two defeats, the UAE now face a battle to stay in the Top 5 for the Asia 1 qualifier decider in 2014.
Japan, meanwhile, extended their unbeaten run in the Asian 5 Nations to 22 victories – all of them with a bonus point – after beating Hong Kong 38-0 on the road. Japan are the highest ranked Asian team in 15th, 14 places and 14.4 rating points above their hosts.
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