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Scots hoping to go back-to-back

By Steve Jancetic 07/11/2008 08:18:32 PM Comments (0)

Written off before they'd played a game in the rugby league World Cup, Scotland aren't expecting too many new friends heading into their last.

The Bravehearts will battle it out for seventh spot when they take on Tonga in Rockhampton on Saturday night, Scotland having broken new ground with their 18-16 win over Fiji on Wednesday night.

But despite Scotland coach Steve McCormack saying his players were far from satisfied with their first ever win, he doubted whether they would have convinced too many doubters with the shock win.

"A lot of people wrote us off in that game (against Fiji) and probably even more now will write us off in this game," McCormack said.

"These players have shocked quite a few people, not only in the World Cup but the last three or four years we've been together.

"This team had never won a World Cup match before, ever, so it's important to us ... we aim to be the first Scotland team to have back-to-back wins in the World Cup now."

Scotland's cause has been helped by injuries, suspension and ineligibility leaving Tongan coach Jim Dymock with only 18 fit players to choose from.

It's been a disastrous tournament for the Tongans, who were favourites to emerge from the two pools of emerging nations to contest the semi-finals.

Instead they will head home and back to their respective clubs with their tail between their legs.

Star centre Michael Jennings will miss the match with an arm injury while Fui Fui Moi Moi and Taniela Tuiaki have been denied the opportunity to play even one game during the tournament with the pair not becoming available to represent Tonga again until next week.

Working in Tonga's favour is the hot and humid conditions expected at Browne Park on Saturday night, with McCormack wary of the heat and the three-day turnaround between games.

"(It's) a massive factor, in this heat you've got to make sure you hold the ball well," McCormack said.

"We haven't quite held the ball as much as we should have done the past two games.

"We've got a team that looks like it likes defending because that's all we've done to be fair, we can't do that on Saturday."

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