|Canada rise to12th in the world after defeating the USA on Saturday|
The start of a new era in North American Rugby saw Canada and the USA face-off in Edmonton, Alberta on Saturday. Despite it being played outside of the mandatory release windows for test rugby it was an IRB sanctioned test match that counted towards the Pacific Nations Cup and IRB World Rankings. It did not, however, count towards Rugby World Cup Qualification. Instead the two countries will meet again in July with the USA hosting Canada in Charleston, South Carolina and Canada hosting the return match in Toronto. Both teams will be wanting better match conditions in July as Satuday´s match was dominated by cold, wet conditions that prevented much running rugby. The games only try was scored early on in the first half by Canadian openside flanker John Moonlight.
The win sees Canada move ahead of Fiji in the IRB World Rankings. Set to be updated today at midday GMT the new IRB World Rankings will show Canada on 71.80 ranking points compared to Fiji on 71.52. As such Canada has overtaken Fiji to rise into thirteenth place in the official World Rankings. Bragging rights will be on the line on June 5 as Canada host Fiji in Ottawa. A Canadian win will give the North Americans more rankings points to enhance its position as 12th in the world.
The loss sees the USA lose ranking points to now have a total of 67.93 points which does not see it drop in the world rankings but it does see its lead over Georgia decrease significantly. Rankings could well change dramatically over the course of the Pacific Nations Cup and with the USA set to face Tonga in its next Pacific Islands Cup match on June 15 it will have a opportunity of gaining significant points due to Tonga currently being very well placed. Tonga played well on Saturday against Japan and with Samoa not participating it may well feel it can win the Pacific Nations Cup. It will need to back up its win over Japan with wins in North America. Before then, however the USA will face Ireland in Houston on June 8. With Ireland visiting North America and Wales visiting Japan the tournament is operating in a stop-start manner but it is, nonetheless, a dramatic improvement over the former Churchill Cup competition.