Russia aiming for Rugby World Cup

International Rugby Board     08 Mar 2014     International Rugby Board

The crucial match this weekend is the one in Sochi between Russia and Portugal.

Victory for Russia will guarantee them third place in Division 1A and keep them in the hunt for a RWC 2015 place, the Bears needing to beat either the Division 1B winner or the Netherlands to earn a place in the Repechage later in the year.

Russia currently have a seven-point cushion over Portugal, but defeat will ensure the battle for third place goes right down to the final match next weekend. The Bears are the higher ranked of the two in 19th, but defeat could see them swap places and assume Portugal’s current spot of 21st.

If Russia do emerge victorious in a match coach Kingsley Jones has described as “probably the most important game for Russia in a long, long time”, then they will remain 19th, but reduce the deficit to USA above them which currently stands at more than six rating points.

Georgia travel to Spain to face a side they have scored 60 points or more against in two of their last three meetings. A similar outcome won’t improve Georgia’s ranking of 16th, but can bring them to within eight tenths of Canada above.

Spain could still climb from 22nd in defeat, depending on the outcome of Portugal’s match in Russia.

Romania, who currently sit second behind Georgia in the Division 1A standings on point differential, welcome bottom side Belgium to Constanta. The Oaks have never lost to Belgium and cannot improve their rating with another victory, leaving them 17th in the rankings.

Belgium need a win to keep alive hopes of avoiding relegation back to Division 1B and if they can pull off the biggest shock in this Division 1A campaign then they could jump four places in the rankings, regaining the ground lost with recent defeats.