BRITISH and Irish Lions legend Alan Tait has hailed Scotland’s successful autumn series but insists the Six Nations will be the real acid test.
Scotland made it two wins from three with Saturday’s comprehensive 43-16 victory over Georgia at Rugby Park on Saturday, following the previous week’s win over Argentina and the narrow, last-gasp loss to Australia.
The displays will ensure Vern Cotter’s side go into the Six Nations in the new year in confident mood.
However, with Ireland – fresh from stunning triumphs over New Zealand and Australia – the first fixture at Murrayfield on February 4, Tait reckons the Six Nations will be a different prospect.
The former centre, who won the last-ever Five Nations tournament with Scotland in 1999, said: “Ireland is going to be the test, just as Georgia was the test for them at the weekend.
“The Six Nations is the test for Scotland, no doubt about it, and that’s where Vern is definitely targeting.
“And the boys have talked about getting a good autumn under their belts and then moving into the Six Nations.
“They’re talking it up now, saying they want a big, big Six Nations, obviously with Vern leaving as well.
“But they’re going to be up against it because England are improving and Ireland are improving.”
Meanwhile, Scotland will head into the Six Nations as the world’s seventh-best team, according to the rankings released by World Rugby on Monday.
Cotter’s men leapfrogged both Argentina and France with their win over the Pumas 10 days ago and cemented seventh spot – their highest in five years – with Saturday’s victory over Georgia.
The 43-16 triumph at Rugby Park earned them just one-tenth of a rating point to move on to 80.67, but with France going down to a 24-19 defeat to New Zealand and Argentina losing to England at Twickenham it allowed the Scots to cling on to their place.
The rankings take on a special importance this season, with the 2019 World Cup in Japan using the placings to fix the seedings for next May’s draw.
Scotland are now also just one place – and 1.12 rankings points – below South Africa, with the potential to overtake the Springboks if they enjoy a successful Six Nations.
The All Blacks remain well out in front at the top of the rankings, with England second, Ireland fourth, Wales up to fifth and Italy languishing in 13th spot.