Scotland hunting down Springboks in world rankings

Finn Russell, right, embraces injured team-mate Stuart Hogg at full-time. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS
Finn Russell, right, embraces injured team-mate Stuart Hogg at full-time. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS
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Scotland’s 53-24 thrashing
of Australia on Saturday was not quite enough to lift Gregor Townsend’s men into the top five of the World Rugby rankings.

South Africa’s 35-6 win over Italy in Padua means the Springboks cling on to fifth place, with Scotland just 0.79 ranking points behind them.

But the loss at BT Murrayfield has knocked Australia out of the top three, with Ireland slotting in behind New Zealand and England after their 28-19 win over Argentina in Dublin.

Scotland finish the internationl year in sixth place, ahead of Wales and Argentina, with France down to ninth and Fiji tenth.

The plaudits have continued for Scotland’s display, with Australian newspaper the Brisbane Times predicting that Finn Russell could go on to be the best stand-off on the planet.

An article asked: “Is Finn Russell the world’s best Number 10? It’s a title the Scotland playmaker can realistically hope to attain even if he doesn’t have it now. Russell has a bit of magic about him that makes him a joy to watch.”

The Scots are also being seen as contenders for the 2018 Six Nations. On the BBC Sport website, ex-England centre Jeremy Guscott wrote: “Scotland have a big chance for the Six Nations. They look as if they will be challenging very closely to win the championship.”