BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Scotland’s first Six Nations victory in 10 attempts has moved them back up two places in the world rankings and back into the top 10.
Vern Cotter’s team had dropped to 11th following the opening championship defeat to England three weeks ago and could not arrest their Six Nations slump against Wales in Cardiff seven days later.
However, their badly-needed 36-20 triumph over Italy on Saturday, their first success in the tournament since Cotter took the reins as head coach and the country’s first since the corresponding fixture two years ago, has relieved the growing pressure on the team.
It has also ensured the Scots move back into ninth spot in the official world rankings compiled by governing body World Rugby.
The victory in Rome, which gained Scotland 1.23 ranking points, has ensured Greig Laidlaw and his team-mates have leapfrogged back over Fiji in 11th and Japan in 10th to tuck themselves in behind Ireland, who are in eighth.
There was no change in the order above Scotland, despite wins for Wales and England over the weekend, but Italy have dropped below Georgia and Tonga to 14th place – just one place higher than their lowest-ever position.
World Rankings: 1 New Zealand, 2 Australia, 3 South Africa, 4 Wales, 5 Argentina, 6 England, 7 France, 8 Ireland, 9 Scotland, 10 Japan.