Head coach Cotter’s squad selection for tomorrow’s match at Gloucester’s Kingsholm had already been made before Japan caused the biggest upset in World Cup history, which only underlines the respect that Scotland have for their Pool B opponents. “We know what they are going to bring”.
“We can’t just expect that this [a victory] will happen for us”.
So when expectations are at their lowest some teams can thrive and – stop laughing at the back please – I can see 200/1 Sky Bet no-hopers Scotland (one small outfit are 300/1 win only) going a long way in this tournament because, quite simply, they are the most improved global outfit in recent months bar none.
A versatile Edinburgh forward whose mother was born in Glasgow, Denton is relishing the competition against Strauss – also a product of the South African system – and believes rugby is still changing the perception of some of the lesser-known nations set to play in this year’s tournament. “They will be doing everything they can in the same way as we will to get ready for this game on Wednesday”, he added. “As coaches we didn’t get much sleep after the game”. Watching them perform was gave me a little bit less sleep that night.
Stuart Hogg returns after an ankle injury in place of Sean Maitland at full-back, Sean Lamont earns his 98th cap on the wing in place of Tim Visser, and Grant Gilchrist starts in the second row alongside Jonny Gray, whose brother Richie is relegated to the bench but will nearly certainly start against the U.S. on Sunday.
AL STROKOSCH insists he has unfinished business with the Rugby World Cup after being part of the Scotland side that flopped in New Zealand four years ago. “If not I’ll just continue to work hard and hopefully get the starting jersey next time”. “They managed to keep the pressure on South Africa and they shocked them”.
“I think everyone was impressed by their commitment”.
Despite losing their last four games in the Rugby Championship, including a first loss to Argentina, South Africa are still the team to beat in this group.
But, clearly, Scotland are the likeliest runner-ups in Pool B – South Africa are as short as 1/16 to win it, even if they would probably rather not, given the draw, and that is something you have to bear in mind as the pool plays out – and that would enable them to play England or Australia in the quarters at Twickenham, and Ireland or France/Argentina in the semis. It’s my first big tournament and I’m trying to learn off the boys who’ve been to one before.
“If they fulfil their potential, they will do well”.
He told the News: “It was great to find out I’d made the squad because I felt I had some unfinished business after the last World Cup and how it unfolded for us, so it would be good to make up for that”.