Rugby World Cup 2011: Nick De Luca says England exit would be bonus

Rugby World Cup 2011: England v Scotland

Venue:
Eden Park, Auckland
Date:
Saturday 1 October
Kick-off:
0830 BST/ 2030 NZ
Coverage:
Scores and reports on BBC website plus live text commentaries on all home nations matches; updates on BBC Radio 5 live; watch live on ITV1/ITV4, live commentary on TalkSport radio

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England exit a 'bonus' - De Luca

Scotland's Nick De Luca admits it would be a "bonus" if a victory over England on Saturday were to knock their old rivals out of the World Cup.

But he stressed that Scotland's main aim was to make the quarter-finals.

Centre De Luca said: "No matter who we were playing this weekend, it could be - it hopefully won't be - our last game in the World Cup.

"If we do it right, England would go out, which would be an added bonus, but it's not the incentive itself."

Defeat would result in Scotland failing to qualify for the quarter-finals of a World Cup for the first time.

But a win by at least eight points at Eden Park would see them progress to the next stage and - if Argentina go on to claim a bonus-point win over Georgia on Sunday - send 2003 World Cup winners England out of the tournament.

Under a media grilling, De Luca was the only Scottish player to let slip that there was a special rivalry involved in Saturday's game in Auckland.

But, like team-mates Richie Gray and Chris Cusiter, the centre said: "What we're doing is trying to go out there and get through ourselves."

And De Luca is optimistic Scotland can double their try tally so far in the tournament against a side who have only conceded one in their previous three games.

"I think it's very feasible," he said, despite the Scots having not managed an eight-point margin against England since 1986.

"England do have a great defence and we aren't prolific try-scorers, so it's going to be a big ask, but we're definitely confident we can do it."

De Luca believes that playing two of their matches - the win over Georgia and loss to Argentina - in torrential rain has not helped their try-scoring cause, while England's three fixtures underneath a roof at Otago Stadium in Dunedin.

"The rugby gods haven't been kind weather-wise," said De Luca, who started against Georgia and Argentina but is facing competition for a starting place from Joe Ansbro and Sean Lamont.

"It would be great if we had a dry night and we could hopefully show the world our more creative side and our strike force."

England centre Shontayne Hape said: "The boys are real pumped up, Scotland is going to be a massive game. It is quite fantastic really, any of the three teams can go through. So it's going to be a cracking game.

"We need to win, there is no point worrying how many points we are on, we just need to go out and win."

Like head coach Andy Robinson, Scotland's Graham Steadman stressed that his side must concentrate on gaining a victory rather than the many group permutations.

"What we've got to look at first and foremost is getting a victory," said the defence coach.

"We can't look too far in front of where we are at this moment in time.

"We know what's required, but we've got to get the victory first and, if the scoreboard takes care of itself, having played well for the 80 minutes, we can come off the field happy."

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