ENGLAND prop Matt Stevens is ready and itching to return to the pack for a heavyweight World Cup clash with Scotland on Saturday.
Stevens missed last week’s drubbing of Romania with an ankle injury but is fit again for the final, decisive fixture in Pool B.
Scotland have even greater reason to upset the Auld Enemy this time, knowing that only victory will uphold their proud record of always reaching the quarter-finals.
But Saracens star Stevens (below) insists they will not underestimate their opponents’ motivation to get one over on their Calcutta Cup rivals.
“We’ve been working hard, everyone knows the pressure is on all teams at this stage of the tournament. We’ve done our homework and we know the challenge that’s in front of us,” he said.
“We are happy with the way our scrum is going, we’re happy with the way the team is at the moment and just looking forward to the game at the weekend.”
Wing Delon Armitage, one of England’s outstanding performers so far in New Zealand, is also under no illusions about the threat Scotland will pose.
“It is going to be massive, the biggest game of my career. This is a World Cup. You lose, you go home; you win, you progress,” said the London Irish back.
“They are very dangerous but we are in the same situation as them. We will be up for it. We know how Scotland will come at us. Every year they come and try and turn us over. We will be ready for it.” No8 Nick Easter, who featured in the opener against Argentina but has missed the last two games with a back problem, boosted his hopes of returning by successfully coming through training yesterday.
RUCK OF THE IRISH | Italy eye decider
ITALY set up a winner-takes-all Pool C showdown against Ireland with a bonus-point 27-10 victory over USA yesterday. Captain Sergio Parisse, fly-half Luciano Orquera and Leicester prop Martin Castrogiovanni (above) touched down, while a penalty try ensured they took the maximum five points. Italy face Ireland on Sunday.