Shontayne Hape: It will be massive. Games like this are why we play rugby
View From The Camp
Saturday 01 October 2011
Andy Robinson has gone with the big boys for today.
With that team the Scots will not be trying to go round us – they are going to try to go through us.
We have been up in Auckland since Sunday so are well settled here. It's been a good week on and off the training pitch. Today could not be a more different challenge from last weekend. The review of the one-sided Romania game was done quickly and then we watched Scotland v Argentina in the team room. What a tough, tough match in terrible conditions. Scotland played pretty well and their kicking game was spot on, but those last 10 minutes cost them dearly.
It's windy here and there is more rain forecast – although who knows with New Zealand weather, rain one minute, sun the next – so we expect them to look to test our back three in the air.
The key to a game like this is to forget all about the different permutations, the eight points and so on, and just focus on what we are going to do. The eight-point margin hasn't even been mentioned in training. Leave the stats to one side – you must not let that get into your mind, and instead approach this like any massive game.
I can't see it being anything other than tough. We know all about them from the Six Nations and club games – I'll be pairing up with Joe Ansbro, the Scotland centre, at London Irish when we get home. Ansbro and Sean Lamont are a big pairing in midfield, and that's another indication of Robinson, who is a world-class coach, looking to fight fire with fire. The match-up with Mike Tindall and Manu Tuilagi will be one to watch.
We beat them at Twickenham by six points in the Six Nations at the start of the year and that was a hard match. They copped plenty of flak for losing to Argentina and when that happens we know they will come flying at us.
We trained at Eden Park yesterday. It was windy and that will test the kickers. We have played the last three weeks indoors so the conditions will be very different, especially if it chucks it down. It's a beautiful stadium and will be packed this morning. This is what rugby players play the game for, occasions like this. It's disappointing not to be playing, of course it is, but you still have a part to play in making sure all the preparations are spot on. It's part of being a professional.
For an evening game most guys will get up later, between nine and half-ten. Later in the morning we'll head for a nearby park and walk though some of the moves for the game – it's always just good to get out of the hotel as the day can sometimes seem to stretch for ever. After lunch most guys like to have a nap or watch a movie although there are a few who will sit with their laptops watching the footage we've got of Scotland over and over. It's only two hours before the kick-off that we will head to the ground, and then it's time to switch on.
Before the intensity of the match build-up we had a day off on Thursday. Auckland is where I come from so I've caught up with my nan and my sister. My brother's come over from Australia for today's game. I spent the day off on the beach with my kids – they are such Brits! They wouldn't take their shoes off and run barefoot on the sand. But they soon got into it and were looking for crabs and starfish – and chucking wet sand at me. My partner and two kids have been out here from day one. When you're in camp for such a long time it is really important to have your family around. Nobody likes being away from their family for such a long time and it helps you switch off from the pressures of being at a World Cup, which every player needs to do over the course of such a long tournament.
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