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30 Sep 23
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Ben White confident with what Scotland have to do to reach the quarter finals

Scotland's scrum-half Ben White (C) is tackled by Tonga's openside flanker Sione Havili Talitui (R) during the France 2023 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between Scotland and Tonga at Stade de Nice in Nice, southern France on September 24, 2023. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP) (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images)

Ben White is adamant Scotland still have full belief they can navigate their way through an increasingly hazardous pathway to the World Cup quarter-finals.


The Scots knew upon arrival in France at the start of the month they faced a tall order to get out of a formidable Pool B containing Ireland and South Africa, the two highest-ranked teams in the world.

But their task has become even more difficult with each passing weekend at the tournament, with their defeat to the Springboks, bonus points for the two big guns against Tonga and Romania, and Ireland’s narrow win over the Boks all conspiring to leave Gregor Townsend’s team up against it.

The Scots now know they must get a bonus-point win over Romania in Lille on Saturday and then defeat Ireland in Paris the following weekend either with a bonus point or by denying Andy Farrell’s team a losing bonus.

“We know we have to play well every match,” said scrum-half White. “We know we have to get a bonus point against Romania and then we have a chance against Ireland.

“As a group we’re really excited about the challenge of that. We’re not down and out, so it’s really exciting that we’re going into these matches with something to play for.

“We’ve got to back ourselves and make sure we do everything we can to get out the group.”

The Scotland squad watched Saturday night’s compelling encounter between their group rivals on television, and the fact the Irish beat the reigning world champions cranked up the heat on Townsend’s team to get a bonus-point win over Tonga on Sunday, which they duly did.


White was keen to point out that their qualification bid remains in their control and that they require no favours from other sides.

“It was a great Test match between two good teams,” he said of Ireland’s 13-8 victory in Paris. “It probably didn’t go our way but at the same time we always knew we would have to beat Ireland so it’s not really changed too much of what we need to do.

“We need to go and finish the group stages strongly. It’s all in our hands. If we play well in our next two games we have a chance of going through.”

Scotland have won only one of their last 13 matches against Ireland and have lost each of their last eight meetings.


Despite recent history being stacked against them, White – who has featured in the last two of those defeats – insisted his team are capable of pulling off the big win they are likely to require.

“Yes, definitely,” he said, when asked if he was confident they could topple the Irish.

“You’ve got to be confident in this team. We have some fantastic players, great coaches and we play some great rugby.

“We scored seven tries against Tonga and probably left four or five out there on the field so we’re creating a lot of opportunities, which makes us tough to play against.

“We have a lot of fantastic players who can beat anyone, so we’re really confident in our team. We have to go into that game confident, but we have to beat Romania first.”


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