By Sports Reporter
The Zimbabwe senior national rugby side were the biggest movers on the latest World Rugby rankings following their crucial 38-18 away win over Uganda in Kampala on Saturday which ensured they avoided relegation and retained their place in the Rugby Africa Gold Cup.
After failing to register a win in their first four Test matches against Morocco, Kenya, Tunisia and Namibia the Sables went into the match against the Uganda at position 45 and in danger of being relegated to the Silver Cup.
With their backs against the wall, the Sables produced their best performance of the season against the higher ranked Ugandans on their way to a bonus point victory meant they ended with eight points and fifth on the six-team Gold Cup log table.
More important the victory meant Zimbabwe were the biggest movers on the updated rankings after climbing eight places 37th while Uganda, who finished third on the Gold Cup standings fell six places from 35th to 41st.
Although the Sables endured a difficult season under South African coach Peter de Villiers after failing to qualify for next year’s World Cup, the victory in their final match meant they finished the season ranked higher.
The Sables were ranked 44th on the world rankings at the start of the just ended Rugby Africa Gold Cup, which doubled as the qualifiers for the 2019 Rugby World Cup to be held in Japan.
Namibia confirmed their place at RWC 2019 in Pool B alongside New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and the Repechage Winner after retaining the Rugby Africa Gold Cup with an emphatic 53-28 victory over Kenya on Saturday.
The result lifts the Welwitschias above Canada in the rankings to 22nd place, and they are now less than half a point away from catching Hong Kong in 21st.
Kenya remain in 28th place despite the loss of nearly six-tenths of a point.
The East African side will now play Canada, Hong Kong and Germany for the right to claim the 20th and final ticket to Japan at the RWC 2019 repechage tournament in November.
Tunisia who secured their place in Africa’s top-tier competition, thanks to their 36-13 win over Morocco climb two places to 40th.
Relegated Morocco dropped four places to 47th.
Meanwhile New Zealand extend their lead at the top of the World Rugby Rankings ahead of second placed Ireland to 4.4 points after getting their Rugby Championship campaign off to a winning start following a 38-13 victory over Australia in Sydney.
Africa’s top ranked rugby nation South Africa did not receive any rating gain for their 34-21 victory over Argentina due to the large points’ differential between themselves and the South Americans, with the sides remaining in fifth and 10th place respectively.