Rugby World Cup 2011

Scotland need killer instinct

2011-09-26 11:15
Andy Robinson (File)

Wellington - Scotland's inability to finish off try-scoring movements may come back to haunt them when they face old rivals England in a do-or-die rugby World Cup clash at Eden Park on Saturday.

Scotland were beaten 13-12 by Argentina in their Pool B clash in Wellington on Sunday, leaving their qualification chances on a knife edge.

Heading into the final week of group matches, the Scots know they must beat England by more than seven points, and if possible score four or more tries.

England head Pool B with 14 points while Scotland have 10, the same as the Pumas who face Georgia in Palmerston North on Sunday and short of a major boilover are likely to win that match comfortably with a bonus point.

"We know we have to win the game by more than seven points to give ourselves a really good chance of getting through," assistant coach Gregor Townsend told reporters on Monday.

"We just have to work harder and make sure were more clinical with passing and the breakdown work, because England will test us as much on breakdown as Argentina did.

"So it's going to be even tougher for us."

Scotland have struggled at the World Cup to cross their opponents' goal line having scored just four tries, all in their opening match against Romania, two of which were only scored in the final 10 minutes when they were facing defeat.

On Sunday against Argentina they tried to play at pace and use width in their attack but to no avail and they blew at least three gilt-edged try-scoring opportunities.

Their backline also tended to get forced across field and their first instinct appeared to be to go into contact instead of committing defenders and putting outside runners into space.

Coach Andy Robinson admitted after their loss to Argentina their inability to finish off chances had cost them, something they would need to rectify if they wanted to beat England.

"We have got to be able to take chances when you get the breaks," Robinson said. "Winning any game is tough. We have to put ourselves into a position to win the game."

The Scotland players, devastated they were by the loss to the Pumas, said they still felt there were enough positives in the performance to suggest they could beat the Six Nations champions.

"We'll be confident. We almost beat them in the Six Nations and there's no bigger stage and no bigger game in a lot of guys careers," flanker John Barclay said.

"We realise if we lose we go home. We've been building to the World Cup for months now and we have every belief in this squad."


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