Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Rugby World Cup: Danielli hoping to sparkle for Scotland

Ulster star Simon Danielli is packing his bags for the World Cup in New Zealand as he prepares to give everything for the Scottish cause.

The Edinburgh man is included in Andy Robinson's 30-man squad for tournament that kicks off next month.

The dangerous winger has been hampered by a recent shoulder operation but the World Cup stage could see his seven-year international career reach a new high.

However, he must firstly win his race to be fit for Scotland's World Cup campaign which begins in Invercargill on September 10 against Romania, with fixtures against Georgia, Argentina and England, on October 1 in Auckland, to follow.

Meanwhile, Chris Paterson is on the verge of becoming the first Scot to appear in four Rugby World Cups after he made the squad. Paterson made his debut in the 1999 tournament and is Scotland's most-capped player and record points scorer, with 105 appearances and 786 points.

But the 33-year-old Edinburgh full-back experienced the same nervous anticipation as 12 years ago when Robinson yesterday unveiled his World Cup squad in the National Museum of Scotland in the heart of Edinburgh, with squad members walking down a flight of stairs into the main gallery.

Paterson said: “The announcement was probably one of the most nerve-wracking things I've done. The squad was announced at a meeting yesterday and the nerves were jangling; way back in '99 it was a phone call you were waiting for. That feeling never leaves you and the desire to do well never leaves you.

“It was a huge goal of mine to make this World Cup. I'm delighted to do that, but the hard work starts again tomorrow when we get back to training and fight for that starting place.”

Meanwhile, Warren Gatland has underlined his fierce determination to see Wales win the World Cup's so-called ‘Pool of Death’.

Wales coach Gatland is relishing a prospect of tackling reigning world champions South Africa, Samoa and Fiji in New Zealand, starting against the Springboks on September 11.

Some might question Gatland's optimism given that Wales have only beaten the Springboks once from 25 attempts and previously suffered World Cup humiliation against Samoa and Fiji.

But after naming a squad that will be skippered by 22-year-old Cardiff Blues flanker Sam Warburton and contains just one uncapped player — Scarlets hooker Ken Owens — Gatland delivered an upbeat message.

“We want to win the group,” he said. “I think we are in great shape physically. We shouldn't go there with any fears. To beat Argentina comfortably was a sign there is something in this squad that is hopefully going to show something at the World Cup.”

SCOTLAND SQUAD

Backs: J Ansbro (London Irish), M Blair (Edinburgh), C Cusiter (Glasgow Warriors), S Danielli (Ulster), N De Luca (Edinburgh), M Evans (Castres), R Jackson (Glasgow Warriors), R Lamont (Toulon), S Lamont (Scarlets), R Lawson (Gloucester), G Morrison (Glasgow Warriors), D Parks (Cardiff Blues), C Paterson (Edinburgh).

Forwards: J Barclay (Glasgow Warriors), K Brown (Saracens), G Cross (Edinburgh), A Dickinson (Sale Sharks), R Ford (Edinburgh), R Gray, D Hall (both Glasgow Warriors), J Hamilton (Gloucester), N Hines (Clermont Auvergne), A Jacobsen (Edinburgh), A Kellock (captain, Glasgow Warriors), S Lawson (Gloucester), M Low (Glasgow Warriors), E Murray (Newcastle Falcons), R Rennie (Edinburgh), A Strokosch (Gloucester), R Vernon (Sale Sharks).

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