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Robinson taking no chances


Andy Robinson

Andy Robinson

Andy Robinson

Scotland head coach Andy Robinson has selected a near full-strength side for the World Cup opener against Romania in Invercargill on Saturday.

Robinson has made eight changes, with captain Alastair Kellock at lock as one of seven players retained from the team which began the 23-12 win over Italy in the final warm-up fixture last month.

Chris Paterson will start at full-back, winning his 106th cap and becoming the first Scot to appear in four World Cup tournaments, while hooker Ross Ford will win his 50th cap.

Sean Lamont will start at inside centre in a midfield combination with Joe Ansbro, while Mike Blair will partner Ruaridh Jackson at half-back, the Glasgow Warriors fly-half given the first opportunity at number 10, displacing Dan Parks.

Scotland open their campaign at Rugby Park Stadium in Invercargill on Saturday, with their second fixture following swiftly against Georgia on Wednesday. The proximity of the matches dictates Robinson is likely to have to utilise almost all of his 30-man squad in the opening two games.

While the back division, with Lamont returning at centre where he performed strongly during the RBS 6 Nations, is a little experimental, Scotland's forward selection is arguably their first-choice pack.

Robinson said: "We have picked a strong side. There is competition for places and we could easily have picked another XV, as we did in the warm-up games. As ever, our key objective this weekend is to win the game and thus get a foothold in the tournament.

"We really respect Romania, who are a young side who are developing together. For us we've trained really well in the last three months and it's now about going out and delivering."

Robinson also paid tribute to Edinburgh hooker Ford.

"I'm delighted for Ross that he will win his 50th cap," he added. "He's a great competitor who always works hard on the training pitch and is never content to 'just get by'. His game is about always seeking to improve."

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