Victory is everything - Robinson
September 9, 2011
Ruaridh Jackson will be central to Scotland's expansive gameplan © Getty Images
Victory is Scotland head coach Andy Robinson's solitary aim for Saturday's World Cup Pool B opener with Romania in Invercargill.
Scotland's World Cup campaign begins at Rugby Park Stadium against The Oaks, with Georgia following on Wednesday before Argentina on September 25 and England on October 1. Asked what the goal was for Saturday's match, Robinson's response was simple.
"The key aim for us is to win the game," he said. "The rest of it takes care of itself."
The expectation is Scotland will win comfortably, but Robinson is not underestimating Romania. He will implore his side to take the initiative, start well and utilise the skills and conditioning garnered during his two-year tenure and more than three months' specific preparation for New Zealand.
The head coach added: "It's a good Test match. They're a young side with a little bit of experience there - a number of players who play in France for Perpignan.
"They're going to be physical and for us, as always, it's about being able to control the scoreboard, but to also be able to think clearly when the pressure really comes on. We're going to have to take them on, as always in any game.
"If we can get a go-forward, get quick ball, then you can put the defence under pressure. If you get slow ball it's a lot easier for the defence to pick you up. There's going to be some big pressure moments. We've got to be able to defend well, but also when we get opportunities take those opportunities.
"The guys are all looking forward to it. They've worked really hard, there's a great team spirit and now it's about delivering a performance."
Scotland are set to field arguably their first-choice forward pack, with captain Alastair Kellock joined in the second row by Richie Gray, a back row of Kelly Brown, John Barclay and Richie Vernon and an all-Edinburgh front row of Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford and Geoff Cross.
The forwards will be key to forward momentum and scrum-half Mike Blair and Ruaridh Jackson will look to unleash the backs, with Robinson looking for the expansive game which has been developed to continue.
"We like to play with the ball in-hand, we like to move the ball around - contrary to what some people think about Scotland and the way Scotland play," he said. "That's a key way we want to play the game, to move the ball.
"We've been working hard on the players to improve their skills - it's about delivering that in the game."
Scotland are seeking a fourth-straight victory after ending a disappointing Six Nations campaign with a win over Italy and World Cup warm-up successes over Ireland and the Azzurri.
Robinson added: "Winning breads confidence amongst a squad. It backs up the fact you're performing well. That's the key element for us - that we're here to win. We're competitive animals and that's what we're about."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter
While the Super Rugby season enters the all-important knockout phase, elsewhere pre-season training never looked so enjoyable. We round-up the best snaps in our Week in Pictures