A 22-0 win over Ukraine in the opening game of the Rugby Europe Trophy 2016-17 season has seen Poland climb three places in the World Rugby Rankings to 34th on the back of a gain of 2.1 rating points.
The victory in Lublin also ensured they are one small step closer to a dream appearance at RWC 2019 as the Rugby Europe Trophy forms part of the European qualification process for the tournament in Japan.
Poland's first win over Ukraine for three years was largely down to the kicking of fly-half Wojciech Piotrowicz, who slotted five penalties and converted a 31st-minute penalty try.
Two early Piotrowicz penalties put Poland 6-0 up before Ukraine spent the remainder of the first half down to 14 men after they lost flanker Valentyn Lytvynenko to the sin-bin on the half-hour mark.
Playing with a one-man advantage Poland piled on the pressure and they were rewarded with a penalty try with little more than a minute of the sin-bin time elapsed. Piotrowicz’s conversion and a further penalty eased Poland into a 16-0 half-time lead to the delight of the 2,500-strong crowd inside the Dialog Arena in Lublin.
The only points of a scrappy second half came via two Piotrowicz penalties as Poland managed to keep the opposition scoreless for the first time since they defeated Latvia 55-0 in April 2008.
Poland move above Zimbabwe, Brazil and the Netherlands in the rankings, while Ukraine’s loss drops them below Chile into 28th place.
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