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Defeat fuels Robinson's thirst

Head coach Andy Robinson maintains the belief Scotland can become the leading side in the northern hemisphere despite exiting the Rugby World Cup at the pool stages for the first time.

England's 16-12 win over Robinson's men in Auckland and Argentina's 25-7 defeat of Georgia confirmed Scotland's third place in Pool B, meaning they have failed to reach the World Cup quarter-finals.

But Robinson, who earlier this year signed a contract extension until after the 2015 World Cup in England, remains full of enthusiasm and determination to lead the Scotland into the 2012 RBS 6 Nations and beyond. Robinson said: "We understand what it means in terms of not qualifying and what that brings. But I think what is important is that you see a team that is growing."

He added: "We can't hide away and nobody will be looking to hide away from the disappointment that we've got."

After the late defeat by Argentina in Wellington, Chris Ashton's 77th-minute try, converted by Toby Flood, saw England progress as group winners despite Scotland having much the better of the match at Eden Park.

Scotland needed a win by eight points or more to have any hope of advancing to the quarter-finals and opted to go for broke when leading in the final five minutes of the match, with an up-and-under pumped into the air which England collected and ran back.

And it was a familiar tale for Scotland as Ashton scored and Robinson's men fell to an agonising loss. Robinson, though, believes his players are near to turning close defeats into narrow victories.

He added: "Winning and losing is about small margins; it's about the inches. That's what Test rugby's about. You've got to be able to finish teams off. We weren't able to do that.

"The big aim for us is to be able to win these close games. To play like that against England... you've got to understand that with us three points ahead with five minutes to go we went for the eight-point victory. We didn't sit on the lead.

"We went and we tried something we thought we could score from. I think that's an important part to recognise. I think we knew what Argentina were going to do, we knew we had to get an eight-point victory to qualify and that's what we went for. And that's the courage that the team has."

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