RWC: Scots already focused on Oz-some opportunity to play the Wallaroos

By Gary Heatly

Scotland head coach Bryan Easson believes his charges can turn things around quickly and give Australia a real game this coming weekend at the World Cup.

With a six-day turnaround from the agonising loss on Sunday to Wales to the second Pool A match with Australia, the players and the coaching staff do not have time to feel sorry for themselves this week.

They will have analysed the 18-15 last gasp defeat to the Welsh on Monday and will now only be focusing on Australia this coming Saturday back at Northland Events Centre in Whangarei.

Before the showpiece event in New Zealand began, Scotland were 10th in the world rankings with Australia seventh.

Scotland took a losing bonus point from their first fixture while Australia didn’t take any points, but certainly took plenty of plaudits, from their 41-17 loss to New Zealand at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday.

Australia will start as favourites for the round two clash, but Easson is certainly not downbeat about his team’s chances and the quarter-final hopes are still alive.

“Of course [we can beat Australia],” he said.

“We are in a World Cup to compete, we are not in a World Cup to make up the numbers. I watched Australia closely on Saturday and they are a good side, but so are we.”

“They will be disappointed by their defeat, as are we and both sides will be working hard to put things right.

“The one thing we have got here [in the squad] is some really good leaders. We have got a great bunch who have been reviewing that Wales game and they’ll be desperate to get going again.

“We are certainly not writing ourselves off because we lost the first game, we got a bonus point and the one thing that we can look at is that all of these points are vitally important in terms of qualification.

“So, we will take a bonus point, we were 15-5 down and came back to 15-15 and we will get ready to give Australia a game at the weekend.”

Replacement back-row Eilidh Sinclair went to hospital with an elbow issue sustained during the Wales game and Easson is awaiting news on the severity of the injury.

Back-row Rachel McLachlan and Emma Orr, the young centre, may also come back into contention this week having missed the Wales game with niggles.

“I think we just need to be a little bit more clinical,” captain Rachel Malcolm, who made an amazing 24 tackles versus Wales, said ahead of taking on Australia.

“We need to be more accurate in everything we are doing and make the most of the pressure we have and turn it into points.”

Australia will certainly not take Scotland lightly and their head coach Jay Tregonning said:  “We’ve proven for a long time [in the match versus New Zealand] that we can be competitive, we have just got to put on these 80 minute performances.

“We will try and freshen up the girls in the week leading up to Scotland and try and put on a good display.”

Thanks to World Rugby for the main photos of Scotland and Australia in action at the weekend

The Rugby World Cup runs from October 8 to November 12 and is on ITV