Rugby World Cup: England ready for Scotland ‘battle’

Manager Martin Johnson insists England will approach the crunch clash with Scotland as a knock-out game

martin johnson
Martin Johnson's men are top of Pool B PA Photos

martin johnson

Martin Johnson expects England to face a “battle” against Scotland in their decisive Pool B game in Auckland on Saturday.

England need just a losing bonus point to seal their place in the quarter-finals, with Scotland needing to win by at least eight points to avoid elimination from the tournament.

Johnson insists England want to top their group by claiming a big victory against the Scots and will approach the encounter as if it were a knock-out game.

“There is lots of chat of getting bonus points but we want to win the Test match as we always do,” said Johnson. “That doesn’t change.

“We are playing knock-out rugby. This is where we want to be – playing a big Pool game, wanting to win it to win the pool.”

“There has been a definite edge about it. It is a big game, they’ve picked a team full of power with some very direct carriers so it is going to be a big battle in midfield in terms of getting over the gain line.”

Meanwhile, Scotland head coach Andy Robinson, who was England manager between 2004 and 2006, believes his side have the quality to beat the Pool B leaders.

“I really hope it’s another cracking test match. For us, it’s about finding the answers to breaking down this England team and if we do that, we have the players to finish off.”

England: B Foden; C Ashton, M Tuilagi, M Tindall, D Armitage; J Wilkinson, B Youngs; M Stevens, S Thompson, D Cole, L Deacon, C Lawes, T Croft, L Moody (captain), J Haskell. Replacements: D Hartley, A Corbisiero, T Palmer, N Easter, R Wigglesworth, T Flood, M Banahan.

Scotland: C Paterson; M Evans, J Ansbro, S Lamont, S Danielli; R Jackson, M Blair; A Jacobsen, R Ford, E Murray, R Gray, A Kellock (captain), A Strokosch, J Barclay, R Vernon. Replacements: S Lawson, A Dickinson, N Hines, R Rennie, C Cusiter, D Parks, N De Luca.

England v Scotland – last five meetings

1) England 22-16 Scotland, Twickenham, March 2011

2) Scotland 15-15 England, Murrayfield, March 2010

3) England 26-12 Scotland, Twickenham, March 2009

4) Scotland 15-9 England, Murrayfield, March 2008

5) England 42-20 Scotland, Twickenham, February 2007

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