Scotland’s reward for causing the upset of the weekend and beating world champions South Africa 21-17 is a two-place climb to sixth in the latest IRB World Rankings.
It is their highest ever position since the rankings were introduced in October 2003.
Andy Robinson’s side bounced back from a record loss to New Zealand seven days earlier to taste victory over the Springboks for the first time since 2002 and climb above Ireland and Argentina to better their previous best of seventh achieved with victory over the Pumas in June.
South Africa’s first loss of their European tour means they surrender second spot back to Australia.
The Wallabies, who dropped to third after losing to England last weekend, beat 12th ranked Italy 32-14 in Florence but this result did not have any impact on their rating.
The Springboks are in danger are slipping further down in the rankings this coming weekend.
Defeat against England, by any margin, combined with France beating Australia by more than 15 points, would see South Africa plummet to fifth in the overall rankings.
New Zealand celebrated Richie McCaw and Mils Muliaina surpassing Sean Fitzpatrick’s record of 92 caps for the All Blacks with a four-try 38-18 defeat of Ireland. This improved their rating only by 0.15 points but South Africa’s loss means their advantage at the top has grown to 7.29.
England remain the leading northern hemisphere nation in the IRB World Rankings in fourth after beating a spirited Samoan outfit 26-13 at Twickenham, albeit now only by four tenths from France, the 15-9 conquerors of Argentina in Montpellier.
Seremaia Bai’s last second penalty to earn Fiji a deserved 16-16 draw with Wales last Friday has not improved their standing of 10th, but has edged them out to a point ahead of their fellow islanders Samoa and slightly closer to the Welsh above them.
Two other November internationals in Europe involving Tier Two nations yielded upsets for the lower ranked sides with Georgia edging Canada 22-15 in Tbilisi and Portugal beating Namibia for the first time ever, 24-12 in Lisbon.
Georgia’s victory sees them swap places with Tonga to take over 16th spot with Portugal also climbing one place, at the expense of Uruguay, to 21st. Canada remain 14th despite the defeat, albeit by just nine hundredths from USA, while Namibia stay 20th by just over two tenths from Portugal.
Away from the November internationals, there were also three matches in the European Nations Cup 2012 on Saturday which resulted in climbs of five or six places for the victorious sides, the Czech Republic, Poland and Serbia.
The Czech Republic triumphed 25-13 in Amsterdam to surge six places up to 30th, regaining the ground lost with defeat to Belgium last weekend, and condemn the Netherlands to a two-place drop to 39th.
Poland’s 22-17 defeat of Germany in the other Division 1B encounter means they also regain ground lost on the back of a defeat last weekend, climbing five places to 37th to sit directly below the Germans, who slide six on the back of this loss on home soil in Frankfurt.
Serbia are the other big movers with a six place climb to 65th after overcoming Switzerland 18-15 in their Division 2B encounter, a result which means they are now the higher ranked of the sides with their visitors dropped as many places to 68th.
There was one other ENC 2012 match on Saturday, but Cyprus’ 33-13 Division 3D victory over Greece has no impact because neither are yet Full Member Unions of the International Rugby Board and therefore not ranked.
Top 15 on IRB rankings – November 22:
(previous ranking in brackets)
1(1) New Zealand 93.19
2(3) Australia 85.90
3(2) South Africa 85.31
4(4) England 83.61
5(5) France 83.21
6(8) Scotland 81.20
7(6) Ireland 80.90
8(7) Argentina 79.87
9(9) Wales 77.04
10(10) Fiji 75.02
11(11) Samoa 74.02
12(12) Italy 72.35
13(13) Japan 71.45
14(14) Canada 68.59
15(15) Usa 68.50
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