Lawson - Now or never

Scotland staying positive ahead of England showdown

Last Updated: 27/09/11 3:48pm

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Lawson: ready for Scotland's World Cup moment of truth

Lawson: ready for Scotland's World Cup moment of truth

Sky Bet

Scrum-half Rory Lawson has demanded Scotland rise to the occasion and deliver on a promise so far unfulfilled in Saturday's World Cup battle with England in Auckland.

There are many permutations in Pool B, with Scotland vying with England and Argentina - who are expected to beat Georgia on Sunday - for the two available quarter-final places.

For Scotland, who lost 13-12 to the Pumas in agonising fashion in Wellington last Sunday, victory over their closest rivals at Eden Park is a must.

"For us it's about progressing ourselves and if that's at the expense of England, then that's at the expense of England."
Rory Lawson Quotes of the week

Assuming Argentina defeat Georgia - coached by Richie Dixon, the former Scotland boss - Andy Robinson's men must also win by eight points or more, a margin which would deny England a losing bonus point.

Opportunity

"Everyone's aware that for the vast majority it will be the biggest game of our careers," said Gloucester scrum-half Lawson, who was captain against Georgia and Argentina.

"In many ways, though, it could be perfectly set - we now have that challenge in hand and what a way it would be to qualify for the latter stages of the tournament.

"We've looked at this tournament for a long time now and we've looked forward to it.

"We don't want to lose on Saturday against England, we don't want to just win - we want to win well enough to go on to the quarter-finals."

For some Scots, the prospects of eliminating England would be an added incentive - but Lawson and the team are focusing on themselves.

He added: "For us it's about progressing ourselves and if that's at the expense of England, then that's at the expense of England."

England beat Argentina 13-9, Georgia 41-10 and Romania 67-3 and currently top the group, but their place in the last eight is not yet assured.

"Everyone's watched them pretty closely so far in the tournament and we're aware of the threats that they pose," said Lawson.

"Equally I think there are areas that we can exploit if we get our game right."

Options

Scotland are set to name their team on Thursday, with Lawson being challenged for the scrum-half berth by Mike Blair and Chris Cusiter.

Tournament captain Alastair Kellock, who was omitted from the matchday 22 against Argentina, could return in the second row, with Richie Gray nursing a hamstring injury.

Euan Murray is likely to return at tighthead prop after missing the Pumas fixture as it fell on a Sunday, thus conflicting with his religious beliefs, while Kelly Brown's participation depends on how he recovers from a head knock sustained late on at Wellington Regional Stadium.

There are other decisions behind the scrum for Robinson to make - whether to keep Ruaridh Jackson in at fly-half ahead of the experienced Dan Parks and whether to bring in Joe Ansbro for Nick De Luca at centre chief among them.

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