Scotland v Ireland, Murrayfield, August 6
Paterson keeping his feet on the ground
August 5, 2011
Chris Paterson will be hoping to extend his Test points record for Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday © Getty Images
Chris Paterson is considered a certainty to be included in Scotland's squad for next month's World Cup in New Zealand but the veteran fullback is nothing for granted.
The 33-year-old fullback, who can also play on the wing or at fly-half, is both his country's record caps holder and record points scorer and he has been named in the starting line-up for in Saturday's warm-up Test against Ireland at Murrayfield.
However, even though he is an invaluable member of the Scottish squad on account of his versatility, experience and deadly goal-kicking, Paterson does not feel that the No.15 jersey is his to lose.
"I never feel you own it or it's yours," the former Gloucester man said. "The way the season went last year it was quite nice, the way it finished - it wasn't great to start with, it finished a bit better. But that was last season. I always start from a clean slate every season."
Just as he is determined to once again prove his worth to head coach Andy Robinson, a number of Scotland's fringe players will also be hoping to impress against the Irish with the World Cup now just over a month away. However, Paterson is adamant that his team-mates will have to put the needs of the team ahead of their own if they are to open their warm-up programme with a victory.
"If individuals perform well the team performs well. In international rugby if you do your little bit right and everybody else does that, you've got a good team performance," he said. "Games like tomorrow are hugely important, to see where we are.
"We won't be the finished product, we won't be finely tuned to the extent you would find in the middle of the season, but we'll find out.
"It's a full-blown Test match we're being capped for and there's a responsibility to go out, play hard and win. With what's at stake, there's opportunities for guys to play to get in position for selection for the World Cup."
And should Paterson be included in the travelling party he will become the first Scottish player to play in four World Cups. "If that's the case (a fourth World Cup), then I'd be delighted," he said. "But I've always said these are things I'll probably be more proud of when I stop. At the moment it's just trying to get there and doing the best you can and performing well."
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