SCOTLAND have moved into their highest position in world rugby for five years after Saturday’s dramatic win over Argentina took them into seventh.
Skipper Greig Laidlaw’s penalty with the last kick of the ball not only earned the Scots a 19-16 victory over the Pumas but ensured they would leapfrog their opponents in the rankings.
However, after starting the weekend rated ninth, Vern Cotter’s men also jumped over France, who succumbed to a 25-23 defeat to Australia, with the Scots’ success moving them on to 80.57 points.
It is the highest position Scotland have enjoyed since September 2011, just before they failed to qualify for the quarter-finals of the World Cup for the first time in New Zealand.
The rankings are key this season as the top eight nations will receive a more favourable seeding when the draw is made in May for the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
Argentina only have one game left – against England at Twickenham on Saturday – to try to move back into the top eight, whilst Scotland will be expected to defeat 12th-placed Georgia at Rugby Park and maintain their place ahead of the Six Nations.
Meanwhile, former captain Andy Nicol has urged Scotland to build on their weekend win over Argentina to make it a ‘very good autumn’.
After the gut-wrenching 23-22 defeat to Australia seven days previously, the victory will have given Cotter’s side a boost in confidence ahead of Saturday’s encounter with Georgia at Kilmarnock’s Rugby Park.
And Nicol, who won 23 caps for Scotland before retiring in 2003, hopes they can now make it back-to-back successes to ensure they go into the Six Nations on a high.
He said: “Scotland had to back up the Australia performance and get a win against Argentina. They did it.
“Now, they’ve got to back that up by winning next week, playing the rugby we saw against Australia and dictating more of the game.
“They were a bit reactive against Argentina but they managed to find a way to win the game and that is the confidence they’ll take into next week.
“Two wins out of three and that one defeat – a one-pointer against Australia – will mean it has been a very good autumn.”
Speaking to the BBC, he added: “And then they would take a lot of confidence into the first game [of the Six Nations] against Ireland at Murrayfield.”