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Scotland fly-half Finn Russell ready to take on Australia's defence

Published 16/10/2015

Scotland's Finn Russell will be tasked with unpicking an Australian defence which has conceded just one try during the World Cup
Scotland's Finn Russell will be tasked with unpicking an Australian defence which has conceded just one try during the World Cup

Finn Russell knows he is coming up against one of the toughest defences in world rugby this Sunday but Scotland's playmaker fully believes he has the tools to unpick it.

The Dark Blues stand-off is gearing up to face Australia in World Cup quarter-final action at Twickenham.

But if it is not to be the final chapter of the Scots' tournament campaign, they will have to find a way through the brick wall that has become the Australians' rearguard.

Wales have already discovered to their cost just how tough a task that is. Despite having a two-man advantage at one stage, they could still not cross the whitewash as they suffered a 15-6 loss in their final Pool A clash.

While England's Anthony Watson is the only man to have successfully forced his way through to score, the Scots have shipped nine tries - including four to Samoa in their final group match before booking a place in the knockout stage.

Glasgow fly-half Russell is alert to the threats posed by the Aussies but he is refusing to blink.

He said: "They've been on fire so far this World Cup. As a 10, it's my job to look at their defence and find the weaknesses. But they are pretty solid. Just look at Wales, who couldn't score against them.

"We spoke about that game briefly. It just shows how good they are that Wales never managed to score. Australia had so much pressure on them when they went down to 13 men but survived.

"So it's tough trying to pick weaknesses when there aren't many.

"But our game won't be the same as the one from last weekend and we just need to be able to adapt and make the right decisions.

"If we stick to our game plan and get things right hopefully we should manage to get some points.

"We've scored a few tries ourselves and that's been brilliant. Hopefully we can continue that this weekend."

Belief has been the watchword around the Scotland camp ever since they shrugged off a determined Samoa side in Newcastle last weekend to tee up their date with the Aussies.

Former Ayr and Stirling County product Russell admits he will now run out in south-west London for the "biggest match of my career".

But while few outside his squad would be willing to bet large sums on a Scottish upset - especially after Ross Ford and Jonny Gray were banned from facing the Aussies following their tip tackle on Samoa's Jack Lam - Russell gave the impression that his confidence was unshakeable.

"There's a lot of belief for us," he said. "We've won three of the four games we've played so far and got through to the quarters.

"Australia are a very strong team right now and have had a very strong World Cup so we are cautious of that.

"They have got world-class players all over the place but it's the same for us. We've got guys who can spark something from nothing. Guys like Stuart Hogg at full-back and Mark Bennett at 13 are dangerous for us.

"We've got a pretty young backline and we like to throw the ball about and have a go. It's all good fun. I'm loving it."

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