Rugby World Cup 2015: Scots' Sean Maitland targets semi-final

By Phil GoodladBBC Scotland
Scotland's Sean Maitland celebrates against Samoa
Sean Maitland helped Scotland beat Samoa

Wing Sean Maitland says Scotland are targeting further progress after achieving their main goal of reaching the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.

Following the 36-33 win over Samoa, the Scots now face Australia next Sunday.

"It's a big achievement," Maitland told BBC Scotland. "It was our main goal and we expected to make it. You have to have those goals.

"This team has self-belief, which is a big thing. It's knockout rugby. Anything can happen."

Scotland struggled to overcome a determined Samoan side in their final Pool B game at St James' Park, with Greig Laidlaw's late try proving decisive.

And, while acknowledging that head coach Vern Cotter will not be pleased when he reviews the match, Maitland believes the win proves the Scots have improved under the New Zealander.

"It was a rollercoaster of a game - so many emotions," he said. "Samoa played Barbarian-style rugby.

"It was a shame for them because they probably played their best rugby of the tournament.

"We always knew it was coming, We always knew they were going to chuck the ball around and play a typical Samoan style.

"It was a tight game and maybe in the past we would've lost, but we stuck it out and stayed strong and got the win, which was the main thing."

Scotland last played in a World Cup quarter-final eight years ago, when they were beaten by Argentina.

Australia players celebrate after winning a penalty against Wales
Australia showed grit to beat Wales, top Pool A and reach the quarter-final against Scotland

Maitland will consult fellow back Sean Lamont, who played in that 2007 defeat, to learn from his experience of playing in the latter stages of rugby's biggest tournament.

"The Centurian is his nickname now - I'll be definitely picking his brain and the others who have played in previous World Cups," he said.

"You just have to treat it as another game and don't let the occasion get too big for you."

Australia will go into the quarter-final at Twickenham as favourites after topping Pool A following their 15-6 victory over Wales.

"We haven't really put in an 80-minute performance and we didn't play well, but we won ugly," said Maitland.

"We know the level will have to go up in training, but we can do something special this week."

Maitland realises how tough it will be against a team who came through the so-called "Group of Death" - which also included England - by winning all their matches, but the back is confident of creating a shock.

"They are the form team," he added. "We just can't wait. It's going to be a huge challenge.

"You've got to take your chances against teams like Australia and I'm sure our defence and attack coaches will be doing their homework and devising a plan to win."