As it’s a Sunday game I’ll be able to watch the vital England – Scotland clash the previous day. Scotland have to beat England to reach the quarter-finals, something they would have wanted to avoid at all costs before the tournament started.
The referee in Scotland’s narrow defeat to Argentina last week came under some scrutiny following the late drop-goal miss by Dan Parks. Players and pundits claimed the Argentine defence was offside, leading directly to Parks being put under pressure and missing the chance. This may well have been the case but the game was not won or lost solely with that drop-goal attempt.
Something we look to develop at London Scottish is a winning mindset and habit during games; effectively, winning all the small battles with the opposition and taking the possibility of losing the game out of the referee’s hands. Referees aren’t biased; they’re human and therefore can make mistakes.
Instead, it’s vital you get yourselves into a position that ensures that, no matter what happens, the referee can’t become a factor. You need to make sure the margin of your lead means you can’t be caught by one score – ideally an eight-point margin – so you can control the game.
Scotland got six points ahead, but then allowed Argentina back into the game which ultimately led to defeat. Although the critical decision went against them, there were probably a number of other decisions earlier on that could have affected the result and they did not reach to reach that buffer.
Now, England v Scotland has become an enormous match for both teams. I certainly don’t think it will be an easy game for England; Scotland have always been at their most dangerous when they are seen as underdogs. England, on the other hand, have had a stuttering start to the tournament, and will need to play very well to win that game. I think it’ll be a close, tight affair and I just hope one team can get to that eight point margin so the referee doesn’t take centre stage again!
Simon Amor is Head Coach at London Scottish. Their next game is against Moseley on Sunday at 2pm, Richmond Athletic Ground.
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