Having beaten France in Paris for the first time in 22 years and ended their 28-year wait for a win against England at Twickenham in last year’s Championship, Scotland now have their eyes set on putting another record straight in round two of Six Nations 2022.
Scotland have not won on their last 10 visits to Cardiff – a run stretching back 20 years to 2002 – but they head down to Wales in a confident mood after reclaiming the Calcutta Cup last weekend.
A win against Wales would also be another milestone moment in the sense that they have never before won back-to-back games at the start of a Six Nations campaign before.
And if Ireland can do them a favour in the earlier of the two Saturday kick-offs by winning against France in Paris, a Scotland victory would see them match their best-ever position in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings of fifth.
The last time Scotland reached such lofty heights was in May 2018.
If beaten, it is possible for Wales to drop down as low as ninth. But a bounce-back win from their disappointing 29-7 loss to Ireland would see them ranked fractionally higher than Scotland – by 0.01 of a point – if the winning margin is over 15 points.
All eyes on Paris
Trading places could also be a theme in Paris in the opening game of round two of the Men’s Six Nations 2022 as a win for Les Bleus over Ireland would result in them being the higher-ranked of the two teams.
In contrast, a heavy defeat for Les Bleus could see them drop as low as seventh if it comes in tandem with a Scottish win.
Ireland, who are missing captain Johnny Sexton to injury, cannot improve on their current ranking of third but could cut second-place New Zealand’s advantage over them to just 0.16 rating points with a win by more than 15 points.
Italy’s game with England has very little riding on it from a rankings perspective unless the Azzurri can beat England for the first time in the Six Nations. Even then, the Azzurri would need to win by over 15 points if Georgia prevail as expected in the top-versus-bottom Rugby Europe Championship 2022 encounter in Amsterdam.
There could be more positive news for Portugal this weekend. Having impressed in drawing 25-25 with reigning champions Georgia in Tbilisi last weekend, Os Lobos go into their match with Romania in Bucharest in the knowledge that they could enter uncharted territory in the rankings.
A first-ever win in Romania would not only see them pick up valuable Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification points but also climb to a new all-time high of 15th. In that scenario, Portugal would be above Romania in the rankings for the first time since 2005.
Romania can fall between three to five places, depending on the margin of defeat and the outcome of the Russia v Spain match in Sochi.
Spain, currently ranked 20th, have won the last five meetings with Russia, scoring a record-equalling seven tries in the last encounter in November. If Los Leones are able to add another victory to that sequence, a gain of between two to three places is possible for them.
For Russia, it is a win or bust in terms of Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification. A precious victory would see them move above both Chile and Namibia and into 23rd place as well as keeping alive their dreams of appearing at a third tournament.