Moldova have climbed to their highest ever position of 25th in the latest IRB World Rankings after overcoming Ukraine 28-8 in their European Nations Cup 2014 Division 1B encounter in Chisinau on Saturday.
This win not only lifted Moldova two places in the rankings but also kept alive their hopes of beating Germany to top spot in Division 1B to remain in the hunt for a place at Rugby World Cup 2015. Moldova earned themselves a bonus point in the win which leaves them level on points with Germany with both having one match to play.
Germany, along with Hong Kong, fall one place as a result of Moldova’s climb, while the defeat means that Ukraine have slipped one place to 33rd with Kenya the beneficiaries of their loss away from home in Chisinau.
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The honour of being the biggest movers of the weekend goes to Denmark, who climb six places to 71st after beating their hosts Serbia 33-19 in their Division 2B encounter. The defeat causes Serbia to fall four places to 84th.
Malta were another nation to enjoy a significant climb with a five-place rise to 40th after beating the higher ranked Switzerland 29-14 in Winterthur. The Division 2A loss on home soil means that Switzerland drop four places to 43rd.
The other Division 2A encounter had no impact on the rankings with the Netherlands running out comfortable 45-13 winners over Croatia, a consequence of the 27 places separating the two teams.
The Dutch have gone unbeaten throughout the two-year competition, collecting 35 of a possible 40 points to earn promotion to Division 1B. They will face the Division 1B – be it Germany or Moldova – for the right to play Russia in the final European play-off to earn a place in the RWC 2015 Repechage.
Israel came out on top in the tightest European Nations Cup match of the weekend, beating Andorra 20-16 in Division 2B. The win sees Israel rise three places to their highest ever position of 46th, but Andorra remain 62nd, albeit by only two hundredths from the Cayman Islands.
There were also two matches in Division 2C with Hungary beating Austria 23-12 and Slovenia running out comfortable 43-17 winners over Bulgaria. Slovenia jump four places to 80th while Bulgaria fall the same number of places to 93rd.
Hungary’s win improved their rating by just over two tenths, but they actually fall one place to 66th as a result of Denmark’s rise. Austria remain 85th despite the loss although now have only a three-hundredth of a rating point cushion over Guam beneath.