BY IAIN COLLIN – Capital City Press
Just four world ranking places will separate Scotland and South Africa when they come together for Saturday’s crunch World Cup clash.
Scotland’s opening tournament wins over Japan and the USA have earned them 3.17 ranking points and catapulted them up three places to ninth from the 12th they occupied seven days ago.
South Africa, meanwhile, have jumped one place to fifth after recovering from their shock loss to Japan with Saturday’s mightily impressive 46-6 thumping of Samoa.
Scotland go into Saturday’s encounter at St James’ Park in Newcastle as leaders of Pool B on 10 points following their two bonus-point victories, but the Springboks are only three points adrift having secured three bonus points from their win and defeat so far.
Elsewhere, Wales have moved up to second – their highest-ever position in the 12-year history of the rankings – following their dramatic victory over England on Saturday night, whilst the tournament hosts slip from third to sixth.
New Zealand are still rated the best team in the world, with Australia in third and Ireland fourth.