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Kenya and Cook Islands shoot up IRB rankings

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irb.com and James Mortimer     16 Jul 2013     Getty Images

Kenya and the Cook Islands enjoyed a great week in their respective competitions, capped by significant gains in rugby’s world standings.

That joy, however, contrasts sharply with the fortunes of Uganda and Papua New Guinea as they drop out of the world top 50.

Kenya followed up last month’s Elgon Cup success over Uganda with a 52-11 victory when the sides met in the Africa Cup Division 1A in midweek.

Kenya ensured their rise up the rankings with a 29-17 win over Zimbabwe in the tournament, which doubled as a qualifying stage for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Form team

Kenya have never played in a World Cup, but on recent results are the form team in the region with their successful week helping them climb from 37 to 31 in the world.

Zimbabwe, who competed at the World Cup in 1987 and 1991, had been 31st in the world before the week’s results but now sit one place behind Kenya.

The recent fortunes of Kenya and Uganda have been hugely contrasting; in mid-June the sides were only three spots apart, with Uganda in 37th and Kenya 40th.

However, 20 places now separate the teams: Uganda tumble out of the top 50, dropping nine places to 51 in the world after Madagascar recoded a 48-32 victory on Sunday, which also kept their RWC 2015 dreams alive and ended Uganda's.

The hosts of the Africa Cup, Madagascar, lost 35-18 to Zimbabwe earlier in the week to remain 44th.

In the Oceania Cup, the Cook Islands notched wins over the Solomon Islands (39-12) and Papua New Guinea (37-31) to continue making great strides up the IRB World Rankings.

The Cook Islands gain more than two ranking points – which translates to a nine-place rise to No.46 in the world and they are rewarded with a match against Fiji for a place at RWC 2015.

Sharpest descent

Papua New Guinea, despite registering a 39-32 win over Tahiti, sustained the sharpest descent, dropping six places to 55 in the world.

As the world rankings take into account the strength of the opposition, Papua New Guinea’s victory over the much lower-ranked Tahitians – who dropped four spots to 90th in the world – was little more than a consolation win.

The Solomon Islanders managed to down Tahiti 23-22 but, coupled with the defeat by the Cook Islands, they slip one place down the table in 69th – but a mere tenth of a ranking point behind neighbours Niue.