By Sports Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Sables have slipped two places down from position 32 to number 34 in the latest World Rugby rankings despite lifting this year’s edition of the Victoria Cup, a four-nation rugby competition which also featured Kenya, Uganda and Zambia.
Zimbabwe’s national rugby side ended their participation in this year’s Victoria Cup on a losing note when they were beaten 36-14 by Kenya away at Nakuru Athletics Club in Nakuru on Saturday.
It was the only defeat in six matches this season for the Sables who had already won the Victoria Cup with a 41-5 triumph over Zambia in Lusaka a fortnight ago.
Sables coach Brendan Dawson blamed their loss on unfair officiating from the referees, who he said called unnecessary fouls on his players.
“It was evident the match was unfairly officiated with the referee calling unnecessary fouls on my players,” Dawson said after the match.
The defeat cost the Sables their higher ranking on the global standings as Kenya, who were ranked 34th last week moved two places up on the World Rankings, overtaking Columbia and Zimbabwe to position 32nd on the log.
Meanwhile, New Zealand have returned to the top of the World Rugby Men’s Rankings after beating South Africa 23-13 at the International Stadium Yokohama during the opening weekend of the Rugby World Cup.
The All Blacks’ win, which maintained their proud record as the only nation to win every pool match at rugby’s showpiece event, lifted them above Ireland who kicked off their campaign with a 27-3 defeat of Scotland at the same stadium a day later.
South Africa’s defeat has seen them drop below Wales into fifth with Scotland falling one rung to eighth after their defeat and France’s nail-biting 23-21 defeat of Argentina at Tokyo Stadium on Saturday.
The final change in the top 10 sees hosts Japan equal their highest ever ranking of ninth. The Brave Blossoms’ 30-10 win over Russia in the opening match did not affect their rating, but Fiji’s 39-21 loss to Australia was enough to drop them below Japan.
England’s 35-3 defeat of Tonga in Pool C and Italy’s 47-22 victory over Namibia in Pool B had no impact on the rankings as a result of the rating point difference between the teams.
Top 20 in the latest World Rugby rankings:
1. New Zealand 90.98
2. Ireland 89.93
3. England 88.13
4. Wales 87.32
5. South Africa 85.75
6. Australia 84.07
7. France 81.04
8. Scotland 80.54
9. Japan 76.70
10. Fiji 76.42
11. Argentina 74.97
12. Georgia 73.29
13. USA 72.18
14. Italy 72.04
15. Tonga 71.04
16. Samoa 69.08
17. Spain 68.15
18. Romania 66.69
19. Uruguay 65.18
20. Russia 64.81
23. Namibia 61.01
32. Kenya 52.55
34. Zimbabwe 50.69