Scots target Pool B summit

Scots target Pool B summit

Scotland aiming to finish top of group says De Luca

De Luca 'Victory is essential'

Scotland are aiming to secure a World Cup Pool B decider with England by beating Argentina next weekend, according to Nick De Luca.

The Scots would then target victory over Martin Johnson’s men on October 1 to finish top of the group and avoid tournament favourites New Zealand in the first knockout round.

Scotland have won their three of their last four Tests against Argentina and victory on Sunday would see them notch up their sixth successive win in all matches.

Argentina are second seeds in Pool B behind England despite being two places below seventh ranked Scotland in the International Rugby Board’s world rankings.

And De Luca admitted that his side would need to improve from their victory over Georgia if they hoped to continue their successful run against the Pumas, who finished third at the last World Cup four years ago.

“Victory is essential,” said the centre, who made his World Cup debut against Georgia. “We’re not going there for any other reason.

“We want this win and we want to go into the last game with six on the bounce and going for the top of the group, those are our goals.

“It was a very mature, solid performance (against Georgia), but Argentina will pose much more of a threat.”

De Luca felt he put in a strong performance in Wednesday’s match and is hoping to feature in the showdown against the Pumas at Wellington Regional Stadium

But the 27-year-old knows that there is stiff competition for the outside centre berth in the shape of Joe Ansbro.


“It was solid,” he said. ” I did my jobs really well in the game and in the conditions I did everything I could. If given the chance again hopefully I’ll do the same against Argentina.

“It just depends what the coaches want and what they’re looking for in the midfield. I just hope I’m lucky enough to be involved.”

De Luca was part of the team that secured Scotland’s first southern hemisphere series triumph in June 2010, when Andy Robinson’s men won 2-0 in Argentina.

“We beat them twice,” he added. “But in that second Test (in Mar del Plata) they were on top and we did well to get a victory.

“They’ll definitely be buzzing after the Romania game (Argentina won 43-8 yesterday) and will really want to get us back.

“But we’ve got full confidence we can beat them and that’s what we want to do.”