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Rugby World Cup 2011 Match Preview – Scotland vs. England

England and Scotland meet at Auckland’s Eden Park on Saturday night (New Zealand time), for a clash that will help decide the final qualifiers from Pool B. Neither team is safely qualified for the finals yet.


There are many potential scenarios for qualification between Scotland, England and Argentina with any two of the three teams able to go through in any order. Because Scotland and England play before Argentina, they won’t have the benefit of knowing exactly what is needed to qualify. For Scotland to be sure of qualification, they must beat England, secure a four try bonus point, and stop England from scoring a bonus point (bonus points can come from scoring four tries in a match, or from losing by 7 points or less); conversely, England can be sure of topping the pool if they win, draw or secure two losing bonus points. Check out the “Qualification Scenarios” section at the end of this article for a full overview of what could happen.


England have made three changes to the team that beat Romania a week ago. Banned lock Courtney Lawes comes back; Matt Stevens takes over at loosehead prop from Alex Corbisiero, who injured his calf last week (but still makes the bench). Delon Armitage is recalled on the wing in place of Mark Cueto, who is entitled to feel aggrieved after scoring a hat trick and doing all he could to put his hand up for selection in his comeback from a sore back.


Scotland have rung six changes to the side that lost to Argentina. Euan Murray returns at tighthead, and Scotland will be hoping his strong showing against the powerful Georgians can repeat against Matt Stevens, who struggled against the same Georgia side. Captain Alastair Kellock comes back in at lock, albeit for an injured Jim Hamilton, and Rich Vernon for a sore Kelly Brown. The backline has been re-arranged to match the one that gave England some trouble in their Six Nations match this year; Sean Lamont moves from the wing into the centres, Joe Ansbro comes in at outside centre and Simon Danielli to the wing, while the selection of the all-rounder Ruaridh Jackson ahead of kicker Dan Parks shows Scotland will hope to keep the ball in hand.


Scotland have not beaten England by eight or more points for 25 years; their task is an enormous one. However, if there is one thing the Scottish rugby team loves, it is tearing into the English. Eden Park gave tremendous support to the Irish against Australia; England are another team that New Zealanders love to see lose, and with Scotland a giant underdog you can expect to see plenty of kilted Kiwis get behind them for the evening. Don’t write Scotland off completely just yet.


Qualification Scenarios:

England are currently top of Pool B, 4 pool points ahead of the other two sides.

  • England will qualify top of the pool if they win, draw, or secure two bonus points against Scotland.
  • If Scotland beat England and prevent England from getting any bonus point, and Argentina lose to Georgia; or, if Scotland beat England, both teams get one bonus point each, and Argentina do not get a bonus point against Georgia; Scotland will qualify first and England second.
  • England will fail to qualify if they lose to Scotland, do not get a bonus point, and Argentina beat Georgia and get a bonus point.


Argentina are second equal with Scotland on ten pool points, but have the advantage in the case of a tie as they defeated Scotland in their last match.

  • If Argentina beat Georgia and secure a bonus point by scoring four tries, Scotland beat England and England do not get a bonus point; Argentina will qualify first and Scotland second.
  • If England win or secure any bonus point against Scotland, and Argentina beat Georgia with a bonus point; Argentina will go through as second place qualifiers behind England.
  • Argentina will not qualify if they lose to Georgia, and Scotland win or draw against England; or, if they beat Georgia but don’t get a bonus point, and Scotland beat England and get a bonus point.


Scotland are third in the pool and must defeat England to qualify.

  • They will finish first in the pool if they beat England, gain a bonus point by scoring four tries, and stop England scoring any bonus point; and Argentina beat Georgia but fail to gain a bonus point.
  • Scotland will finish second in the pool if they beat England, stop England from gaining a bonus point and Argentina beat Georgia with a bonus point. Or, if Scotland beat England, Scotland and England both get bonus points, and Argentina beat Georgia but without a bonus point.
  • Scotland will not qualify if they lose to, or draw with England.


The most complex scenario sees Scotland beat England with both teams gaining one bonus point, Argentina beating Georgia and also gaining a bonus point. In that case, all three teams would finish on 15 points in the pool and qualification would come down to points difference across all the pool matches. Currently, England have a points difference of +99, Argentina +32, and Scotland +18.


Kick off: 8:30pm NZ time / 8:30am GMT / 8:30am British Summer Time.


Starting Line-Ups – Scotland vs England, Rugby World Cup 2011

Scotland Starting XV

  • 15 Chris Paterson
  • 14 Max Evans
  • 13 Joe Ansbro
  • 12 Sean Lamont
  • 11 Simon Danielli
  • 10 Ruaridh Jackson
  • 9 Mike Blair
  • 1 Allan Jacobsen
  • 2 Ross Ford
  • 3 Euan Murray
  • 4 Richie Gray
  • 5 Alastair Kellock (capt)
  • 6 Alasdair Strokosch
  • 7 John Barclay
  • 8 Richie Vernon


  • 16 Scott Lawson
  • 17 Alasdair Dickinson
  • 18 Nathan Hines
  • 19 Ross Rennie
  • 20 Chris Cusiter
  • 21 Dan Parks
  • 22 Nick De Luca


England Starting XV

  • 15 Ben Foden
  • 14 Chris Ashton
  • 13 Manu Tuilagi
  • 12 Mike Tindall
  • 11 Delon Armitage
  • 10 Jonny Wilkinson
  • 9 Ben Youngs
  • 1 Matt Stevens
  • 2 Steve Thompson
  • 3 Dan Cole
  • 4 Louis Deacon
  • 5 Courtney Lawes
  • 6 Tom Croft
  • 7 Lewis Moody (capt)
  • 8 James Haskell


  • 16 Dylan Hartley
  • 17 Alex Corbisiero
  • 18 Tom Palmer
  • 19 Nick Easter
  • 20 Richard Wigglesworth
  • 21 Toby Flood
  • 22 Matt Banahan

About Michael Gardner

Michael Gardner
Michael Gardner is at the Rugby World Cup 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand, providing first-hand coverage of the action on the pitch.

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