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De Luca looking to keep his place

Nick De Luca

Nick De Luca knows the battle to earn a place in Scotland's Rugby World Cup squad is just beginning.

The 27-year-old Edinburgh centre scored his first Test try in his 24th appearance in Saturday's 21-8 win over Italy which saw Scotland finish the RBS 6 Nations with a flourish and avoid the wooden spoon. De Luca was a first-half replacement for Joe Ansbro, who went off with a knee injury, and put in his best display of the championship.

"There's too many quality centres and quality players," said De Luca. "I'm in possession of a jersey currently and it's more mine to lose as such. But it's a long pre-season, with the two friendlies. I'm not taking anything for granted as none of the other boys will."

Scotland play warm-up Tests against Ireland (August 6) and Italy (August 20), before their opening World Cup clash with Romania in Invercargill on September 10.

Georgia, Argentina and England follow in the group stages, with two teams progressing to the quarter-finals.

Head coach Andy Robinson said: "We're going to go to New Zealand willing to play, as I think we've done in every game in this championship."

However, Robinson has always warned Scotland must be firing on all cylinders to win any game and he reiterated that when referring to the World Cup.

"There's a lot of hard work to be done," he added. "The first two games I think are going to be crucial for us, playing Romania and Georgia and we've got to focus on those two games.

"I think they're potential banana skins for us, the way they play. They're pretty physical, they've got good scrum and lineouts - playing a side like Italy is very similar.

"We've got to get through those first two games and then enjoy the fact we're playing Argentina, who we performed well against over in Argentina."