Venezuela are still in with a chance of claiming the South American B Championship after beating Peru 33-21 in Lima, a result that saw them cement their place in 62nd in the rankings following a gain of 0.84 of a point as well as setting up a winner-takes-all title decider against Colombia next weekend.

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Venezuela led 19-7 at the break thanks to tries from Daniel Durand, Eduardo Hernandez and Wilkinson Arrieta with Renato Lecca scoring for Peru.

Peru started the second half well with a try for Renato Concha, converted by Francisco Deustua, but they failed to score again until it was too late, fly-half Isaias Aysanoa going over in the third minute of stoppage time after Venezuela had already made the game safe with tries from winger Edwin Marin and number Pedro Reanez.

The defeat cost Peru a one-place fall to 83rd with Barbados the side to profit.

HISTORY IN HELSINKI

The Rugby Europe Championship got underway on Saturday too, with history made in Helsinki as Spaniard Alhambra Nievas became the first female to referee a men’s test in the Rugby Europe region. Nievas took charge of Finland’s Conference 2 North clash with Norway, which resulted in a 15-8 win for the home side.

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The Finns scored first-half tries through their wingers, Lahtivuori Eetu and Mika Takala, the second converted by fly-half Jussi Viljanen, for a 12-8 interval lead.

Viljanen then kicked the only points of a scrappy second half when he slotted a penalty seven minutes from time to seal Finland’s third win over Norway in 13 attempts since the sides first met in 1987.

Finland move up one place in the rankings to 101st having picked up 1.12 points to move on to 28.53, while Norway fall three to 95th with Uzbekistan, Mauritius and Rwanda moving up one as a result of the defeat.

LUXEMBOURG EDGE DANES

Also in Conference 2 North, Luxembourg overcame the loss of two men to the sin-bin to register a 18-3 win away to Denmark in Odense.

Tries at the end of each half proved crucial to the outcome, centre Maxime Dozin crossing in the 35th-minute before fly-half William Browne delivered the coup de grace in second-half stoppage time.

Luxembourg stay in 63rd place but the loss of 0.42 of a rating point drops Denmark down one to 87th with Niue Island the beneficiaries.

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SWEDES PULL THROUGH

In Conference 1 North, Sweden were given a tough ride by Hungary in Norrkoping before pulling through to win 12-10.

Winger Alex Melander got the Swedes off to a flying start with a try after five minutes, but Hungary hit back to lead 10-5 at the break thanks to try from flanker Andrew Zair which Martin Sacase converted to add to his earlier penalty.

Sweden were really up against it when they lost replacement Jack Duffy to the sin-bin only five minutes after he’d joined the fray. But they survived the 10 minutes while he was off the field with their line intact.

Hungary, however, conceded almost as soon as number eight Thomas Ducrocq was yellow-carded, centre Tom Milner crossing the whitewash 12 minutes from time to level the scores with full-back Jonothan Edwards slotting the all-important conversion.

With nine places and nearly two points between the sides at the start of play, Sweden’s first victory for nearly a year was only worth three-tenths of a rating point, which was not enough to lift them any higher than their current position of 61st. Hungary are now 10 places behind in 71st.

One match also took place in the Rugby Africa Regional Challenge South tournament but Lesotho's 60-5 win over Swaziland did not affect the rankings