Planet Rugby

Land of the rising rankings

11th July 2011 12:23

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Japan line up naths 2011

Back up to thirteenth: Japan

Japan are the biggest climbers in the latest IRB World Rankings after beating World Cup 2011 opponents Tonga in the Pacific Nations Cup.

John Kirwan's side won 28-27 in a success that results in a two-place climb back to thirteenth.

The Brave Blossoms had slipped two places on the back of defeat to Samoa and Tonga's surprise win over Fiji in the opening round of the Pacific Nations Cup last weekend, but a fifth straight win ensures Japan bounce straight back.

The defeat for Tonga, allied with Fiji's 36-18 victory over defending champions Samoa, means they fall two places to fourteenth with Georgia falling one to fifteenth as a result of Japan's win at the National Stadium in the Fiji's capital, Suva.

Fiji's emphatic victory over Samoa sees them climb one place to twelfth, regaining some of the ground lost after a surprise opening loss to Tonga last week. Samoa have held on to tenth despite the loss, but less than a rating point now separates them from their conquerors.

The IRB Pacific Nations Cup 2011 will come to an exciting conclusion on Wednesday with all four teams still capable of winning the title and separated by just one point, Tonga still leading the way on six with Samoa, Fiji and Japan hot on their heels on five.

The weekend's other match also resulted in a change in the IRB World Rankings with Kenya's 27-10 win over Uganda in a Victoria Cup / Elgon Cup encounter lifting them one place to 37th at the expense of Lithuania. Uganda stay 45th but slip closer to Papua New Guinea below them.

With thanks to the IRB

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