Scotland told to finish in style

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The Independent Online
Scotland need a commanding performance against Spain today to silence their critics after being far from convincing in the 27-16 victory against a Madrid XV earlier in the week.

The Scots realise that only a crushing victory in Madrid will satisfy the team management with the World Cup three weeks away. The side, who include Damian Cronin now recovered from his hamstring injury, are the one Scotland are likely to field in the World Cup. And they know the potential is there to score 50 points or more against Spain, who suffered defeat by a similar margin against Wales in a World Cup qualifier last May.

Duncan Paterson, the Scotland manager, wants his side to repeat the style of the performance which destroyed Romania at Murrayfield two weeks ago. "The way we perform is as important, if not more so, than the margin of victory," he said.

Craig Joyner, who scored three tries in Tuesday's match, said: "We must start piling on the points."

Ireland's resources will be given a thorough pre-World Cup assessment when they face Italy at Treviso in a warm-up match this evening.

The only other occasion that the two countries have met was in Dublin in 1988 when the Irish won 31-15 - but the game in Italy has come on a long way since then.

Last October, the Italians lost their World Cup qualifier to Wales in Cardiff 29-19, thanks mainly to seven penalties by Neil Jenkins.

Ireland will need to be wary of the goalkicking skills of the stand- off, Diego Dominguez, while flanker Julian Gardner has also been capped by his native Australia.

Ireland have two new caps, at left wing and scrum-half, because of injuries to Michael Bradley and Simon Geoghegan. Bradley's Cork Constitution club- mate, David O'Mahony, deputises while Geoghegan's place has gone to UCD's Darragh O'Mahony, who is unrelated.

SPAIN: F Puertas; D Saenz, P Calderon, A Mino, P Gutierrez; X Gerediaga, J Gil; J Elvarez, F de la Calle, J Diez, J Villau, J Escobar, A Malo, J Etxebarria, J Gutierrez (capt).

SCOTLAND: G Hastings (Watsonians, capt); C Joyner (Melrose), T Stanger (Hawick), G Shiel (Melrose), K Logan (Stirling County); C Chalmers (Melrose), B Redpath (Melrose); D Hilton (Bath), K McKenzie (Stirling County), P Wright (Boroughmuir), D Cronin (Bourges), G Weir (Melrose), R Wainwright (West Hartlepool), E Peters (Bath), I Morrison (London Scottish).

ITALY: P Vaccari; M Ravazzola, M Bonomi, S Bordon, Marcello Cuttitta; D Dominguez, A Troncon; Masimo Cuttitta (capt), C Orlandi, F Properzi, R Savaro, N Giacheri, J Gardner, O Arancio, P Pedroni.

IRELAND: J Staples (Harlequins); R Wallace (Garryowen), B Mullin (Blackrock College), J Bell (Ballymena), Darragh O'Mahony (UCD); P Burke (Cork Constitution), David O'Mahony (Cork Constitution); N Popplewell (Wasps), T Kingston (Dolphin, capt), G Halpin (London Irish), G Fulcher (Cork Constitution), D Tweed (Ballymena), A Foley (Shannon), E Halby (Shannon), P Johns (Dungannon).