Scots gear up for 'massive' midfield battle

by Staff Writer

Scotland are anticipating a colossal midfield battle when they take on England in their crucial Pool B match in Auckland on Saturday.

Defence coach Graham Steadman said the Scots had highlighted several areas they would target in the much-anticipated clash at Eden Park.

Asked whether he expected big collisions if England paired Mike Tindall with Manu Tuilagi in the centre, he replied: "Massive. It will be good viewing.

"It is a more direct combination. They lose a bit of subtlety in midfield but if they get their noses through the frontline they have the capability of offloading.

"We aim to have a gameplan in place to cause them one or two problems. But if those two guys are allowed to get a bit of space with a view to playing off the front foot we will be back-pedalling."

Tuilagi, 20, has made a huge impact since making his international debut in August, scoring twice in his three starts at Rugby World Cup 2011.

Added incentive

"We will pay him attention and do our homework," said Steadman. "He is a bit of a threat if he gets momentum off quick ball. He is a bit raw but he'll back himself and in the personal battles against him we must come out on top."

Scotland centre Nick de Luca is not losing any sleep over the possibility of lining up opposite Tuilagi.

"He's running some good lines and he's a big lad but I have tackled plenty of big lads before so I am not too worried," said de Luca. "I enjoy that side of the game, so if I am lucky enough to go up against him I will do my job.

"It's up to us as a unit and individuals to put him under pressure, look after the ball and test him."

If Scotland beat England by more than seven points, there is a strong chance it could eliminate the 2003 world champions.

"There's the added edge that we are desperate to beat these guys," said de Luca. "There's a lot of history built up. If we do do it right, England would go out, which isn't the incentive but is an added bonus."

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