Captain Jason White sent out a clear message today that Scotland have it in them to pull off “something special” in their World Cup quarter final match on Sunday evening.
The back-row forward knows how passionate a performance their opponents Argentina will produce, but is certain his side can do likewise if they have their best game of the tournament so far.
White declared: “We need to improve our performance and if we can play to our potential, we have a great chance of winning this game and getting close to doing something special.
“The Argentina team have a lot of qualities which we feel we have ourselves. They are very passionate and when they play, they fight for their team mates and they play with pride for their country.”
However, Argentina do not just rely on their passion. They are ranked fourth in the world and stunned the host nation France in the opening match of the tournament, winning 17-12. They followed that with victories in each of following pool matches, most recently against Ireland.
“Their first game against France was not a great surprise as they’ve recorded more victories than defeats recently in that particular fixture. It was a tough ask for Ireland to get the four tries and win by seven points they needed to progress to the quarter finals, so the result was not too surprising. The Argentinian players are well known to everyone in Europe and they are a top team.
“The Ireland game reinforced what we already knew; they’re very strong, good around the breakdown they challenge for every ball and metre on the pitch. We may find one or two gaps to exploit like Brian O’Driscoll did in that game, but I imagine Argentina will work hard to close those.”
The captain would not be drawn on which Argentinian players may cause the greatest danger, although he acknowledged to the growing media corps that stand-off Hernandez has played well so far and Felipe Contepomi at inside centre is also a threat.
“We’ll be underdogs and we’re happier in that position. Argentina have had great victories against larger nations which have been very impressive so everything is in their favour. Probably, historically, we prefer to be underdogs so we’ll go out and do our very, very best.”
The Scots were also the lower ranked side in their final pool match against Italy last week, but still produced the result they needed to progress to the quarter finals in what was a hard-fought battle in difficult, wet conditions. White said: “The most pleasing aspect was the final whistle! But our scrum did quite well, the lineout went well and the passion was there - everyone showed how much it meant to them. It was great to repay all our fans who’d travelled to St Etienne.
“We’ve had a change of scene moving to the big smoke. It’s a good time to move as we have a chance to get out and about, have a look around Paris. Everyone is quite relaxed and we are all looking forward to Sunday night.”
Head coach Frank Hadden will announce his team tomorrow for Sunday’s quarter final at the Stade de France in Paris kicks off 8pm (BST).
First news of and reaction to the team will appear on this website.