Morrison primed for England
Scotland centre excited about World Cup clash with Auld Enemy
Last Updated: 04/09/11 2:12pm
Morrison: getting back to form
Scotland centre Graeme Morrison is excited about the World Cup and one game in particular - the clash with auld enemy England.
The 28-year-old Glasgow Warriors centre missed out on selection for the 2007 tournament, but four years on is a key player in Scotland's midfield.
And Scotland head coach Andy Robinson will need Morrison at his best for a successful Pool B campaign, which concludes against Martin Johnson's England in Auckland on October 1.
Morrison said: "Playing against England at any stage for whatever reasons has got an extra bit of spice, regardless of the situation.
"To play them in New Zealand in a World Cup as our last group game when at that stage it could be the deciding game of the group, it would be a great experience if I get to play in that."
Scotland and England last met in a World Cup in 1991, where Will Carling's side prevailed 6-3 in the semi-final and finished as runners-up to Australia.
"Playing against England at any stage for whatever reasons has got an extra bit of spice, regardless of the situation. To play them in New Zealand in a World Cup as our last group game when at that stage it could be the deciding game of the group, it would be a great experience if I get to play in that."
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Morrison has a personal record of one win, one draw and one loss against England, and although centre is a perceived weakness in Johnson's squad, he is fully aware of the size of the challenge that awaits.
He added: "You look at the centres they've got in their squad and they're by no means weak physically.
"Manu Tuilagi and Shontayne Hape are two great ball players, big guys as well.
"If I get the opportunity to play against those guys I'll relish that."
While the England clash could have ramifications on the group overall and whether Scotland progress, Morrison is also wary of Scotland's other opposition.
Scotland's first two games are in Invercargill - Romania on September 10 and Georgia on September 14 - before the potentially crucial clash with Argentina in Wellington on September 25.
Morrison added: "These are games we are going to have to play well to win. It's not, as some people may think, just a case of turning up.
"These guys will be absolutely desperate to beat us, so we've got to be at the top of our game to beat those two."
Morrison missed the 2011 RBS 6 Nations with a knee injury, but returned in August and was the only member of Robinson's squad to start both the wins against Ireland and Italy.
He added: "I felt great. I missed the Six Nations through injury and it was great to be back with the squad, pulling the top back on and running out at Murrayfield again.
"It was something I really did miss. I'm really grateful Robbo gave the opportunity to play in both of those games."
In Morrison's absence, Scotland utilised wing Sean Lamont at inside centre, while Nick De Luca and Joe Ansbro also played at number 12, although outside centre is their preferred position.
Morrison believes he is returning to his best, but is far from complacent about his place in the first XV.
"I'm starting to show a bit of form again, I think," he added.
"I didn't play much last season, but I'm glad things turned out the way they have and my form seems to have come back quite quickly.
"I'd like to think I've put myself in good stead for selection, but you can never be sure about those things.
"You can't remember the last time Scotland were able to change a team completely between two games. That's what we're able to do these days.
"The competition is very healthy and anyone that comes in is more than capable of doing a job in the team."