Cook Islands 15s up a spot

Friday July 27, 2018 Written by Published in Rugby Union
Cook Islands winger Matamanea Matapakia tackles a Hong Kong player in the Rugby World Cup qualifying match earlier this month. 18072631 Cook Islands winger Matamanea Matapakia tackles a Hong Kong player in the Rugby World Cup qualifying match earlier this month. 18072631

The Cook Islands 15s side has climbed a spot in the latest World Rugby rankings released earlier this month.

The Stan Wright-coached side is now ranked 54th in the world, ahead of fellow Pacific island teams Papua New Guinea (66), Tahiti (85), Niue (98), Solomon Islands (101), Vanuatu (104) and American Samoa (105).

New Zealand remains the top ranked rugby union side in the world followed by Ireland and Wales in second and third places, respectively.

Cook Islands 15s team’s rise in the rankings can be attributed to its Rugby World Cup qualifying matches against Hong Kong.

The national side played well in the opening match but lost to a better-ranked Hong Kong (21) 3-26 at the BCI Stadium before going down heavily 0-51 in the second match at the Hong Kong Football Club.

The wins allowed Hong Kong to progress to the final stage of RWC 2019 qualification, the repechage tournament.

Despite losing both matches, the Sam Anderson-Heather skippered Cook Islands managed to pick up some ranking points for a total of 45.11, which handed them the 54th place.

The Cook Islands 15s side will need to continue playing international matches in order to maintain or improve on their standings.

Meanwhile, Samoa’s qualification for Rugby World Cup 2019 as the play-off winner has come with an added bonus – they are back up to 16th, said World Rugby in a statement

“The Pacific Islanders followed up their 66-15 win in the first leg of their Oceania/Europe play-off match against Germany with a 42-28 victory in the return match in Heidelberg,” the statement said.

“And while the come-from-behind victory was worth only four-hundredths of a rating point, it was still enough to take Samoa above Romania in the rankings.”

Having clinched their place in Pool A with the 114-43 aggregate victory, the statement adds Samoa can now look forward to matches against hosts Japan, Scotland, Ireland and Russia at RWC 2019, while Germany are left with one more chance to qualify via the four-team global repechage in Marseille in November.

 

Top 10 – 1. New Zealand, 2. Ireland, 3. Wales, 4. England, 5. Australia, 6. South Africa, 7. Scotland, 8. France, 9. Fiji, 10. Argentina.

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