By John Davidson, (RLP RLWC Correspondent) Date: 3/11/13
Two teams with great team spirit and an eye on the quarter-finals will clash at Workington’s Derwent Park.
Italy debuted at the World Cup with a fantastic victory over Wales at Millennium Stadium. Scotland opened their campaign with an equally thrilling come from behind win over a physical Tongan outfit.
Only one of these two nations can make it through Group C and a loss is fatal. So this match should be a pearler, two sides going at it hammer and tongs to decide who qualifies for the next round.
The Azzurri impressed against Wales through its strong forward pack, with the likes of Paul Vaughan prominent, and the dynamic displays of Anthony Minichiello and Aiden Guerra. Man of the match Josh Mantellato showed he has a radar boot and that this Italian team can score points from anywhere.
Italy is playing for pride and with two wins in a row, appear very dangerous.
Scotland were underdogs against a highly fancied Tonga side, laden with experience, but were not overawed and would not be dismissed. Off the back of smart direction from halves Danny Brough and Peter Wallace, the brilliance of two-try hero Matty Russell and a committed defence the Scots pulled off a huge triumph. The question is can they maintain their emotional high and do it again?
Northern England might seen a strange choice for Scotland games to be honest but the fans who turned out on Tuesday night certainly got their money’s worth and should be back for another classic. Just under 8000 souls turned out to Derwent Park, which has a capacity of 10,000 and is the home of Championship One club Workington Town, to see Scotland’s first game in rainy conditions.
This Cumbrian town has really gotten behind this World Cup and the crowd figure was the stadium’s highest attendance for the past 19 years. They are throwing their support behind the Bravehearts and it will be loud and proud cheering them on against the Italians.
Still, I think the Italians just might edge this one. There seems to be something about this side, a special quality which may see them keep upsetting the apple cart. The defeat of England was stunning and momentum is with them after disposing of Wales. I think they can do the hat-trick and take out another British nation.
My tip is Italy to win by eight points.