Rugby World Cup 2011

Scots refuse to think of exit

2011-09-28 16:50
The Scotland coaching staff of Andy Robinson, Gregor Townsend and Graham Steadman (Getty Images)

Auckland - Scotland on Wednesday refused to contemplate being knocked out of the Rugby World Cup by rivals England - and said they would be doing "cartwheels" if they sent their oldest enemy crashing.

Assistant coach Graham Steadman said Scotland had learned lessons from Sunday's last-gasp 13-12 defeat against Argentina as they head into Saturday's match, where even victory may not be enough to reach the quarter-finals.

Scotland is four points behind England in Pool B but level with Argentina, who look sure to beat Georgia.

It means the Scots will need to stop England claiming a bonus point by beating them by at least seven points - and avoid any slip-ups like Argentina's try late in Sunday's game.

"That won't happen again," said Steadman. "We can't afford to let it happen again.

"We've just got to be a little bit more clinical and at the weekend, if we're not clinical we'll be looking at the worst case scenario, which I don't even want to think about," he added.

But the congestion at the top of Pool C means Scotland could win Saturday's match and still be on the next flight home - a prospect they also preferred not want to dwell on.

"It will be a massive disappointment, something we don't even want to think about. So can we move on to the next question please?" Steadman told journalists.

"What we've got to look first at is the result, getting the victory. We can't look too far in front of where we are at this moment in time. We know what's required," he added.

Steadman said Scotland would make a last-minute call on the head and knee injuries to back-rower Kelly Brown and lock Jim Hamilton before announcing the team on Thursday.

He said Scotland were wary of "raw" but dangerous centre Manu Tuilagi, as well as the different challenges presented by England's fly-halves Jonny Wilkinson and Toby Flood.

"He is a threat if gets a bit of momentum off quick ball, so we've got to get up and stop his momentum," Steadman said of Tuilagi.

"He's a little bit raw but he will back himself and in the personal battles against that particular player we've got to make sure we come out on top because if he gets a head of steam it can cause problems."

And Steadman said lock Richie Gray, when asked how he would react to knocking out England, would be "doing cartwheels, with the rest of us".

"If we win the game by eight points and progress into the quarter-finals, we'll be ecstatic," Gray said.


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