Japan crack top 10
Mon, 23 Jun 2014 13:22
Japan look well placed to make an impact at the World Cup after extending their winning run to 10 matches with a first-ever victory over Italy
Asia five Nations champions Japan look well placed to make an impact at the World Cup after extending their winning run to 10 matches with a first-ever victory over Italy in Tokyo.
The Brave Blossoms’ 26-23 triumph lifts them up two places in the IRB World Rankings to 10th, with Scotland and Samoa, two of the teams they are paired with in Pool B next year, firmly in their sights.
Japan will also be up against South Africa in Pool B, who made no movement or gained no points despite their 2-0 series victory over Wales.
Third-placed Australia improved their score by 0.2 of a point after completing a series whitewash of France.
New Zealand stay top of the pile on 93.81 points after equaling the record for the number of consecutive Test victories (17) with a comfortable win over England.
Away wins for Scotland (v Argentina) and Samoa (v Fiji) have resulted in net gains of 1.15 and 0.99 points respectively.
Argentina drop to 12th in the world, their lowest-ever ranking.
Italy, meanwhile, remain in 14th but they lose 0.31 of a point after what was a ninth straight defeat.
Romania swap places with Canada thanks to a victory over arch-rivals Russia, that, combined with the Maple Leafs' first loss to the USA in eight matches sees them claim 16th place in the rankings.
Uruguay move into 19th place at the expense of Russia after beating the Bears in the first match of the final round of Nations Cup fixtures in Bucharest.
Los Teros won 13-6 in what could potentially be a dress rehearsal for the RWC 2015 Repechage final later this year.
IRB World Rankings, June 23: (previous position in brackets)
1-(1) New Zealand 93.81
2-(2) South Africa 89.34
3-(3) Australia 86.94
4-(4) England 85.68
5-(5) Ireland 83.44
6-(6) Wales 80.70
7-(7) France 80.01
8-(8) Scotland 77.78
9-(9) Samoa 76.59
10-(12) Japan 75.39
11-(10) Fiji 74.56
12-(11) Argentina 73.98
13-(13) Tonga 72.58
14-(14) Italy 70.92
15-(15) Georgia 70.46
16-(17) Romania 68.42
17-(16) Canada 68.01
18-(18) USA 67.30
19-(20) Uruguay 62.89
20-(19) Russia 62.06