NEWS
09/27/2011 05:28 EDT | Updated 11/27/2011 05:12 EST

Robinson watches with pride as Scotland players rally for Rugby World Cup meeting with England

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Coach Andy Robinson has been watching with admiration as his Scotland players recover from their Rugby World Cup defeat to Argentina.

The Scots could have been severely downhearted after a late try by Lucas Gonzalez Amorosini earned a 13-12 win on Sunday and made the Pumas favourites to advance to the quarterfinals alongside Pool B leader England.

But although Scotland has only a slim chance to maintain its proud record of reaching the last eight at every World Cup, the players are still optimistic.

Scotland must beat England by more than seven points at Eden Park on Saturday or hope for an unlikely win by Georgia over Argentina the next day in Palmerston North.

"We had 24 hours to get rid of all our frustrations, emotions, and people do it in different ways," Robinson said Tuesday. "It's important to go there because the guys put a lot of hard work in their performance and it was disappointing to lose a game. Particularly in the manner that we did.

"But we've got through that. Today is really the first day that we now start focusing on England and there is a real vibrancy about the team."

Scotland has a poor away record against England but is unbeaten in its last three home games against its oldest rival.

"Everybody understands that it is still in our control," said Robinson, a former England coach. "We've got to go out and put in a top performance Saturday against England."

Robinson said the support of Scots in New Zealand had been crucial in lifting his players. After three weeks in Dunedin, England is well used to coming under friendly fire from Scotland fans.

"Some of us went to the ambassador's to have a drinks reception with her and she was very good," Robinson said. "And a number of Scottish people that were there, the supporters that were in Wellington.

"It's important to share your emotions and some of the guys are pretty down."

Scotland's rivalry with England goes back centuries. Its rugby union rivalry with its neighbour goes right back to the first international in 1871, which Scotland won 3-0.

But scrumhalf Rory Lawson said the identity of Scotland's opponent was immaterial. All that matters is getting a win and progress to the next round.

"The scenario we are in, you can be putting anyone in front of us and we go in with the same attitude," Lawson said. "We know what we have got to do and we are in control of that. Obviously the media will hype it up as being the big Scotland and England showdown.

"But ultimately we respect and look at the challenges England are going to give us and work out what we are going to do at the back of that."