Paterson eyes fourth World Cup
Chris Paterson, Scotland's most capped player and record points scorer, is refusing to take his place in a fourth Rugby World Cup squad for granted.
The 33-year-old is set to start at full-back in Saturday's EMC Test with Ireland at Murrayfield, winning his 105th cap in the first of two World Cup warm-up internationals before head coach Andy Robinson names his final 30-man squad on August 22. If selected Paterson would become the first Scot to appear in four global tournaments.
"It's a goal of mine, to reach the World Cup, because it's the next big challenge I've set myself," he said. "If that's the case (a fourth World Cup), then I'd be delighted. But I've always said these are things I'll probably be more proud of when I stop. At the moment it's just trying to get there and doing the best you can and performing well."
Hugo Southwell's withdrawal with a knee injury means four potential full-backs remain in the squad, with Rory Lamont, Sean Lamont and Jack Cuthbert, who could make his debut off the bench against Ireland, also in contention.
Sean Lamont will start on the wing on Saturday, while Paterson has retained the full-back berth. It will be his fourth successive start in the position after recovering some of the best form of his 12-year international career.
"I never feel your own it or it's yours," he said. "The way the season went last year it was quite nice, the way it finished - it wasn't great to start with, it finished a bit better. But that was last season. I always start from a clean slate every season."
The new season opens with Saturday's match at Murrayfield. Scotland have kept the intensity of training high through the build up, with the World Cup, which begins next month, the ultimate goal.
The Ireland fixture is the first opportunity for players to prove they are deserving of a place on the plane to New Zealand. While individuals have goals, Paterson impressed upon his team-mates the importance of a strong collective display.
He added: "If individuals perform well the team performs well. In international rugby if you do your little bit right and everybody else does that, you've got a good team performance.
"It's a full-blown Test match we're being capped for and there's a responsibility to go out, play hard and win. With what's at stake, there's opportunities for guys to play to get in position for selection for the World Cup."