Webster Expected To Recover For Key Clash

Scotland centre Simon Webster missed tonight’s captain’s run as a precaution but the Scotland medical team fully expect him to be fit for tomorrow’s Rugby World Cup Pool C key clash against Italy in St Etienne.

Webster had a mild upset stomach overnight and though making a good recovery today, team doctor James Robson decided he should miss the Scots’ final practice as a precaution with the view that he will be 100% by tomorrow.

Scotland centre Simon Webster missed tonight’s captain’s run as a precaution but the Scotland medical team fully expect him to be fit for tomorrow’s Rugby World Cup Pool C key clash against Italy in St Etienne.

Webster had a mild upset stomach overnight and though making a good recovery today, team doctor James Robson decided he should miss the Scots’ final practice as a precaution with the view that he will be 100% by tomorrow.

The waiting game is almost over as in 24 hours’ time, we shall know which team will be making their way to Paris and to the quarter finals of the World Cup. A win, or even a draw, would take Scotland through to the knockout stages, given they currently have ten points to Italy’s eight.

The Scots may have the upper hand on the points table, but the Italians have the higher world ranking and arguably have the psychological benefit of winning the previous encounter between the two nations at Murrayfield earlier this year.

That match however, will be consigned to history when the teams take to the field tomorrow, as Scotland team manager Guy Richardson pointed out at this evening’s media conference. He said: “Jason (White) made it clear it is not a revenge match, it’s just another enormous contest. What’s gone before is not important, we have no doubt at all that Italy will come out all guns blazing tomorrow night.

“We’re going into it as the next step in our World Cup campaign and we know how important it is.”

Like Scotland, Italy will be putting thoughts of the RBS Six Nations victory out of their minds, especially given they have not reached their potential so far in this tournament. Their head coach Pierre Berbizier said: “We don’t have to worry about history. We don’t think about it in that way. It is an important match against a dangerous adversary and we must concentrate on that.

“Every match is different as it varies according to the team you’re playing. We have played three matches before this and this one is decisive. We have learnt things from those three matches which we can take into this match. There is a will to do better. This is a very positive attitude in the squad and I think we’ll do better.”

The Italian pack is arguably one of the strongest in the game, and Scotland prop Gavin Kerr is ready for the challenge it may pose. He said: “They have a big pack. We’ve played them before and know what they’re capable of. We’ve looked at it over the last few weeks and know it will be tough upfront and we’re looking forward to it.”

However, Italy will be without their captain, Gloucester lock Marco Bortolami who has failed to recover from injury. Scotland lock Jim Hamilton said: “Bortolami is a big loss for them. He’s key in the lineout and their talisman as captain but I’m sure his replacement will put on a good show. It may make things a bit easier, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

“They’ve not been playing to their potential and expectation given their six nations form. We expect them to turn up and give it their all.”

Alessandro Troncon, who will be leading his country tomorrow night in the absence of Bortolami, said: "I don't think we have excuses for the three matches we played so far and that we’re not at our real level. Obviously we've been talking a lot, especially about the mistakes we've made. That's part of the preparation for a match like the one we have tomorrow. We'll try to show we are capable of playing better rugby.

“It is a special situation and in both cases a very important match as it is very decisive and so it will be an intense match. Our emotions are strong about it. We have worked incredibly hard this week but we are calm about it and hope to play as well as we can.”

Scotland are also well prepared and ready for what, for some, is the most important game of their careers so far. The squad are also fresh, as Hamilton observed: “I’m feeling better than I’ve ever felt in my life.”

The match tomorrow night at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard kicks off at 8pm BST.