Luxembourg’s qualification for the next stage of Rugby World Cup qualifying has an added bonus as the country rises up the IRB World Rankings.
The European Nations Cup play-offs saw Division 2D winners Luxembourg take on Division 2C qualifier Slovenia for the chance to remain in the qualification hunt for England 2015.
Hosts Luxembourg prevailed 22-10 at Stade Josy Barthel – better known as the home of the country’s football team and recent venue for the country’s FIFA World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan.
The win edges Luxembourg one place higher to 92nd thanks to a rise of 1.12 in their ranking points total; another similar increase would elevate them six places in the standings.
Luxembourg’s reward is a crack at Division 2B winners Israel in the next stage of the European play-offs.
Best of the rest
In the South American Rugby Championship, Uruguay and Chile met on Saturday to decide the best of the rest after regional powerhouse Argentina, and with it continued involvement in RWC 2015 qualifying.
With hosts Uruguay cantering to a 58-7 win over Brazil at Montevideo’s Estadio Charrua midweek, the stage was set for the clash against Chile.
Uruguay’s 23-9 victory leaves them at 21st in the world but an improved total means they are less than a point from knocking Spain out of the top 20. More importantly, they now face the loser of Canada v USA for a Rugby World Cup berth.
Argentina continued their dominance of the tournament in accounting for Brazil 83-0 after beating Chile 85-10 three days earlier.
The Pumas have won the competition every year bar one since its inception in 1951, but the results had no bearing on their world ranking.
With the IRB taking into account the respective ranking of opponents, the Pumas remained on 78.71 points in eighth. Their chance to rise up the ranks will come against England, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia later in the year.
Likewise, Japan’s stellar form in the HSBC Asian 5 Nations against much lower-ranked opponents had no bearing on their position, remaining 15th in the world.
Japan’s 64-5 win over Korea in the Top 5 means the Brave Blossoms have won three out of three and have all but secured a sixth successive title.
Japan ran in 10 tries in front of 7,000 fans at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo, but their ranking points stayed the same as a result of the 11 places separating the two teams.
Hong Kong stay in 29th after disposing of the Philippines 59-20 at Rizal National Stadium in Manila on Saturday, but marginally improved their points total by 0.25.