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Robinson: England need statement

World Cup winner Jason Robinson believes England must use Saturday's critical Pool B clash with Scotland to make a statement of intent after an unimpressive start to their campaign in New Zealand.

While England top the pool heading into this weekend's decisive round of fixtures, they are not guaranteed a quarter-final berth. A defeat by eight points or more could be enough to send the Red Rose home, and they will need to cope with a Scotland side fired up after snatching defeat from the jaws of victory against Argentina last weekend.

Robinson said: ""England need to make a statement to show they are serious contenders for this tournament. They need to take it up a gear."

Defeat to the Pumas means the meeting with the Auld Enemy is a must-win for Scotland if they are to advance, making this arguably the most important meeting between the sides since the semi-final of the 1991 tournament.

And the former Sale winger, who grabbed England's try in the 2003 World Cup final, says following uninspiring displays against Argentina, Georgia and Romania, it is time for England to step up against their oldest enemy.

Robinson added: "It's a massive game. It was always going to be an emotional encounter even without the permutations involved, the players know each other well from club rugby and they will both be very tense because of what is at stake.

"England are not home and dry and Scotland will be massively disappointed to have lost to Argentina due to a lack of composure.

"Andy Robinson would have been working with them to make sure they didn't switch off, such are the fine margins between success and failure, but they paid for some lapses in the final 10 minutes.

"They failed to gather the restart after kicking a penalty to go 12-6 up and conceded a try as a result. They will be revved up for a mighty effort on Saturday.

"Although England lead the group they started off very shakily against Argentina. They got the win which is what counts but, no disrespect to Georgia and Romania, they have had two easy games since and this is a big test."


From Belfast Telegraph