The fine margins at the top end of test rugby were no better demonstrated than at Murrayfield on Saturday as the Autumn Nations Series 2022 got underway with a real nail-biter between Scotland and Australia.
Australia went into the match having lost their last three encounters to Scotland and ranked ninth, their lowest-ever position.
But three Bernard Foley penalties and James Slipper’s converted try were just enough to edge out the host nation who were left to rue a late missed penalty from Blair Kinghorn.
Kinghorn converted his own try at the start of the second half following an earlier effort from Ollie Smith and landed one penalty but pulled his crucial 78th-minute attempt wide.
Australia jump three places to sixth in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings powered by Capgemini as a result of the narrow win, while Scotland drop below Wales and Argentina to ninth.
Japan and New Zealand royally entertained a capacity 65,000 crowd at the National Kasumigaoka Stadium in Tokyo, with the All Blacks winning 38-31.
With only just over a third of a rating point riding on the outcome, the result had little impact on the rankings with the All Blacks staying in fourth place and Japan 10th.
Elsewhere, Croatia suffered their second consecutive defeat in their first season back in the Rugby Europe Trophy, losing 37-17 to Sweden in Stockholm.
Sweden remain in 37th place but the loss of 0.86 of a rating point has cost Croatia four places.
Croatia are now ranked 10 places below the Swedes in 47th with Sri Lanka, Malta, Madagascar and Uganda all profiting from their defeat.
The only other result from the weekend – Bosnia & Herzegovina’s 20-18 win away to Montenegro – did not impact the rankings.