BY IAIN COLLIN – Capital City Press
Scotland will go into Saturday’s pivotal World Cup clash with Samoa a full six places above their opponents in the latest world rankings.
The Scots, whose qualification for the quarter-finals now rests on the encounter with Samoa, have retained the ninth spot they rose to a week ago, despite their 34-16 defeat to South Africa at the weekend.
However, Samoa now occupy their lowest-ever position since the rankings began after falling from 11th to 15th in the wake of their 26-5 loss to Pool B rivals Japan.
Another side plumbing the depths of their poorest placing since rankings began in 2003 is England, who have fallen from third spot just a fortnight ago to eighth.
It now means that should Scotland defeat Samoa and subsequently win their quarter-final to reach the semis of the World Cup they will also consign the Auld Enemy to a position outside the top-eight for the first time in rankings history.
South Africa jumped one place to fourth following their defeat of Scotland at St James’ Park on Saturday, whilst Australia have leapfrogged Wales into second following the victory over England that knocked the host nation out of the tournament.
New Zealand remain on top of the world in first place.
Meanwhile, Samoa skipper Ofisa Treviranus has been cleared to face Scotland, despite being disciplined by World Rugby for a high tackle.
The London Irish flanker has been dealt a ‘Citing Commissioner Warning’ by the independent Citing Commissioner Yves Thieffine of France following an incident in Samoa’s 26-5 loss to Japan at Stadium MK on Saturday.
Treviranus was penalised by referee Craig Joubert for a high tackle on Brave Blossoms prop Keita Inagaki but no further action was taken at the time.
The 31-year-old was retrospectively dealt with by governing body World Rugby yesterday, however, when he received a warning for ‘striking an opponent in breach of Law 10.4(e)’.
But the warning equates to only a yellow card under the World Cup’s disciplinary programme, leaving the Samoa captain free for selection for Saturday’s showdown at St James’ Park.