Scotland will arrive at the 2011 Rugby World Cup confident that they can extend their streak of reaching the knock-out stages of every World Cup. Although if they do manage to reach the quarter finals, that’s where their brave journey will probably end.
The Scots have been drawn in the most competitive pool of this years World Cup. England and Argentina will pose big hurdles, but they will take heart in the fact that they have missed drawing one of the big Southern Hemisphere teams.
The Andy Robinson coached outfit have two relatively easy matches against Georgia and Romania (both in Invercargill) to warm up for the big ones against Argentina in Wellington, and England in Auckland. Their record against Argentina is a shaky one. The Scots have won two on the trot, but before the 2008 26-14 win in Buenos Aires, they had not beaten the Pumas in over a decade.
Their record against England is a bit more promising. In the past six matches against their biggest enemy, they have won two, drawn one and lost three, with games usually close fought affairs. With the squad recently named, it is interesting to see that Robinson has selected the experienced Chris Paterson. Paterson is now tenth on the all time appearances list and as previous World Cups has shown, experience wins matches.
At the end of the day, the match against Argentina on the 25th of September should decide if Scotland make it through to the quarter finals or not. A win, and they should be through to meet either New Zealand or France. And even though the chances of beating two of the big guns are slim, the brave Scots never give up.
Prediction – A close third place in Pool B.