The World Rugby official rankings for the men’s international game made interesting reading when they were updated on Monday. There in sixth place was Australia, who had shot up from ninth. Plummeting down the rankings in a direct swap was Scotland, sixth last week and now ninth.

The rankings sometimes have a false look about them, and that is shown by the fact that New Zealand are currently in fourth when really they should never be out of the top two, and Ireland are out in front at the top of the rankings with France in second and world champions South Africa in third. But that is the beauty of the rankings – they ignore reputations and go strictly on results especially of games played between top tier teams. The point is that there is such a small margin between Australia in sixth and Scotland in ninth – less than two ranking points – that any matches between teams in that bracket will automatically change positions, though I do think that for Scotland to be so harshly penalised for losing to the Wallabies by the odd point in 31 is a tad unfair.

The loss to Australia was cruel but was the result of several crucial Scottish errors. Obviously Blair Kinghorn’s late penalty miss was the most glaring of them, but I would point out that Kinghorn is not even the first choice kicker for Edinburgh. Head coach Gregor Townsend should have either picked a proven kicker – he wouldn’t have had Finn Russell on Saturday in any case – or had a word with Edinburgh coach Mike Blair to have Kinghorn at last share the recent goal kicking duties. Kinghorn had a fine game otherwise and I don’t think Finn Russell himself would have scored that second try as he doesn’t have the sheer pace of the Edinburgh player.

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Another blatant error was Sione Tuipolutu dropping Kinghorn’s sublime long pass with the try line at his mercy and captain Jamie Ritchie also made a dreadful mistake in my opinion, opting for the kick to touch from a penalty in front of the posts. Whatever happened to that mantra ‘keep the score board ticking over’?

I’ll draw a veil over Glen Young’s yellow-should-have-been-red card and put his attempt to smash the excellent Tate McDermott back to Oz down to the exuberance of inexperience. Ps. Don’t you hate that word Jackal?

No excuses, however, for referee Luke Pearce who penalised Hamish Watson when the replays showed clearly he was not offside, and Pearce also erred in not sin-binning Hunter Paisami for a clearly deliberate knock on off a Kinghorn pass. But a yellow card then would not have made any difference and the truth is that Scotland made too many mistakes and conceded too many penalties in a match they should have won comfortably. The pack was uniformly powerful but those line outs need work before the Flying Fijians, as it seems we must now call them, come to Murrayfield on Saturday.

HeraldScotland: Fiji head coach Vern CotterFiji head coach Vern Cotter (Image: Getty)

It used to be thought back in the day that Fiji were easy meat for Scotland at the XV-a-side game. Absolute masters of the Sevens, of course, but never the same at the full version of rugby, largely because they just didn’t have the talent and power in the pack that they had in the backs. How things have changed recently, and head coach Vern Cotter is beginning to achieve for them what he did for Scotland – getting the side organised and encouraging players to attack from anywhere. That’s why they are now ranked 12th in the world, only three places behind Scotland, and that alone should be a warning of the potential dangers posed by Fiji.

I detect a slight mood of complacency on the part of many fans ahead of the Fiji match. That is a mistaken attitude because this Fijian side is replete with top players and Cotter has been drilling them to make an impact on their current Autumn tour.

They have plenty players earning their living in Europe and you just have to think of Edinburgh’s Viliami Mata as a really high class professional who knows the Scottish game backwards. The thought of Big Bill Mata clashing with his Edinburgh colleagues Hamish Watson and Jamie Ritchie would be worth the admission price alone.

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Fiji’s athleticism always means they can be exciting, but I think the Scottish pack will have too much for them overall and the game will be won up front. Scotland will also have the likes of Stuart Hogg, Rory Sutherland, Chris Harris and Johnny Gray back in the squad and I would not be surprised to see Adam Hastings start the match. The key to victory is that the forwards must secure enough ball for Scotland’s backs to flourish and I think they will do so.

After the late loss to Australia, Gregor Townsend said Scotland would learn from their mistakes. Well, he had plenty mistakes to go on so let’s see if he and the squad have learned the most important lesson of all – how to win.