- Ex-Wasps due selected for Northern Hemisphere in Heroes Rugby Challenge
- Former internationals share their thoughts on England's final Pool B encounter
Photo: RFU Archive
With over 20 Rugby World Cup caps between them, former England and Scotland wingers Josh Lewsey and Kenny Logan are well placed to assess the challenge facing their respective countries this weekend.
The ex-Wasps teammates were at Twickenham this week to announce that they will be pulling on their boots one more time to represent the Northern Hemisphere at the Heroes Rugby Challenge on December 3.
RFU.com went pitch-side to get their thoughts on the England v Scotland fixture which has turned into the decisive clash of Pool B.
Josh Lewsey: If England have got aspirations to be the best team in the world, or at least in the latter stages of the World Cup, you’ve got to have the mental fortitude to go into a game like this and say 'Right, we are going to perform, take the game to the opposition and win well.' That’s what I’ll be looking for, a confident performance from England.
Kenny Logan: The group stages of a World Cup have changed so much now. It used to be that you could easily single out the two teams which would progress. Now, there are usually three teams in each group that have the potential to get through to the quarters. We shot ourselves in the foot against Argentina but we have to put that agony behind us. I like to think that Scotland could win but I can’t see them getting that eight-point difference.
They need to be whiter than white - Lewsey
Lewsey: On the other hand, if England get ahead it would be a mistake to try and sit on a lead because it would only take a couple of turn-overs and a couple of penalities before Scotland are back into the game. You can only worry about closing the game out in the last 5-10 minutes - the rest of the time you just need to build the lead. Scotland haven’t scored a lot of tries in the last couple of years so the key for me is discipline and patience. Discipline in defence beacuse there is no need to force anything. The one key way that Scotland are going to stay in the game is if England give away unnecessary penalties. They need to be whiter than white and keep the referee on side.
Logan: We’ll definitely come out of the traps firing, the key for us is to force England into mistakes by getting stuck into some of the big players like Lawes and Deacon, pressuring them into making the errors. Sometimes I don’t think that England take us seriously enough. They didn’t take us seriously at Twickenham this year and there was only six points in it (England won 22-16). England were probably hoping that there wouldn’t be much pressure on them in this game but there is and they need to win it.
Lewsey: If England produce a composed performance, I think they will win comfortably. If they don’t, then it will be a struggle like it always is. Scotland love being underdogs but that is when they are dangerous. England are favourites and they need to put a decent performance together to prove that. If you are going to be the best in the world you have got to be able to go out there and win as favourites.
Logan: If Scotland don’t qualify for the quarters we need to take a real look at the structure of the game in our country and how we can get more people playing. Russia, for example, are producing players left, right and centre. If we don’t watch it, these teams are going to start beating us as well.
Lewsey: If England get the result they need on Saturday they enter what has become the Northern Hemisphere side of the draw and the reality is that this tournament is completely open. You can make a case for any one of the four teams to be in the final. That is the beauty of professional sport, you get to the latter stages of a tournament and all bets are off.
Heroes Rugby Challenge supported by J.P. Morgan, Saturday 3 December 2011 at Twickenham Stadium, kicks off at 1630. Ticket prices start at £30 for adults, £10 for under 16’s, and are available through Ticketmaster www.ticketmaster.co.uk or by calling 0844 847 2492
For more information go to www.facebook.com/heroesrugby and receive updates via Twitter www.twitter.com/heroesrugby