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Vernon: We'll front up

Number eight Richie Vernon has vowed Scotland will front up against Georgia in their second World Cup encounter after a stuttering start in the unconvincing Pool B opening win over Romania.

Scotland beat Romania 34-24 in Invercargill yesterday following two late tries from Simon Danielli - both set up by rampaging back rower Vernon - after the forwards had spent large sections of the match being pushed backwards. Georgia arguably have a stronger pack than Romania and will relish taking on Scotland at Rugby Park Stadium on Wednesday.

Vernon, though, insists Scotland will be ready to compete at the set-piece and the breakdown. The Sale Sharks forward said: "We're going to improve up front - that's going to be a big emphasis for us this week."

He added: "We didn't front up there the way we wanted to. The scrum, lineout, maul, defence around the fringes - in general it was very poor. The scrum was inconsistent, but there were a few where we went and attacked and did really well. We need to do that more often and do it better."

Scotland scored two tries in the opening 21 minutes but slipped three points behind with 12 minutes remaining against Romania before the late flourish.

Vernon added: "Subconsciously we took our foot off the pedal a little bit. "Once we took our foot off the pedal it was really hard to put it back on. Looking at the video, some things are as bad as we thought they were, some things aren't. We can definitely take some good things out of the game and overall the mood's positive.

"A lot of guys were a bit down yesterday, but, having slept on it overnight, the guys have realised we came out of it with a win and a bonus point - from the first game that's all we wanted to do, so I think the guys are pretty pleased in some ways."

In many ways the short duration between matches will allow Scotland to put their below-par showing against Romania to the back of their minds.

Changes are expected, but Vernon is among those desperate to play again.

He added: "A lot of guys will be wanting to play. They'll want to put that game behind them and put in a good performance and really get Scottish rugby back to where we want it to be."


From Belfast Telegraph