Spain have replaced Russia in 19th place in the World Rugby Rankings thanks to their 20-13 win over the Bears in the opening round of the Rugby Europe Championship 2018 in Krasnodar.

Los Leones' first victory on Russian soil for 16 years was worth 1.58 rating points and boosts their overall tally to 55.37, giving them a 0.38-point cushion over the Bears, who drop to 20th.


It also kept Romania within Spain's sights in the race for the Europe 1 ticket to Rugby World Cup 2019.

With results across the 2017 and 2018 Rugby Europe Championship (excluding those against Georgia) counting towards qualification, Romania are now three points clear of Spain who, in turn, are seven clear of Russia.

The top-placed team will qualify as for Japan 2019 as Europe 1 and join Ireland, Scotland, Japan and the Play-off Winner in Pool A.

The runner-up will play Portugal in the Europe play-off for a place in the home and away Europe/Oceania play-off against Samoa. The winner of that will qualify as the Play-off Winner and the loser advances to the four-team global repechage in November.

While improving their chances of making it to Japan and retaining the Rugby Europe Championship title they won in 2017, Romania’s record 85-6 win over Germany did not come with any reward from a rankings perspective as more than 13 points separated the sides before kick-off. The Oaks, therefore, remain 15th and Germany 27th.


Scotland, USA and Uruguay were the only teams in the top 20 other than Spain to gain any rating points this weekend.

The fraction under two-tenths of a point that Scotland picked up for their nail-biting 32-26 win over France at Murrayfield on Sunday was not enough for them to improve their position of seventh.

Meanwhile, the USA confirmed their recent dominance over Canada with a 29-10 win in the Americas Rugby Championship 2018 in Sacramento on Saturday, a victory worth five-hundredths of a point in ranking terms.

The Eagles remain unchanged in 17th but the difference between themselves and Uruguay is now minuscule (0.004 of a point) after Los Teros came from 18-3 down to beat Brazil 27-18 in the same competition on Friday.

Despite losing 47-0 to Georgia in the Rugby Europe Championship, Belgium take advantage of the Netherlands’ 36-12 loss to Portugal in the Rugby Europe Trophy by moving up one place to 28th.

Portugal gained a fraction over three-quarters of a point for the win, which was not enough for them to improve their current position of 24th.

Photo credit: Anastasia Osipova