Rugby League World Cup preview: Scotland v USA

Last updated: 8th November 2013   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Terry Matterson

Terry Matterson: United States boss sticking with the same side which toppled Wales

Steve McCormack 1024

Steve McCormack: Forced to make changes for Thursday's clash against the USA

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Scotland can move a step closer to a mouth-watering clash against world Cup holders New Zealand in the quarter-finals if they beat USA on Thursday in Salford.

The Bravehearts are the only undefeated home nation after the first two rounds of group matches and they can take a step closer to a potential clash against the Kiwis if they end the Americans' remarkable run of success

A win at the AJ Bell Stadium would take the Scots two points clear at the top of Group C and leave them with an anxious wait until Sunday when Italy, who have a superior points difference, play Tonga.

Scotland head coach Steve McCormack is forced to make his first changes of the tournament after losing hooker Ian Henderson (knee) and centre Kane Linnett (rib) to injury in the 30-30 draw with Italy.

Andrew Henderson, who will win his 20th cap, is a straight swap for his brother while winger David Scott is the likely replacement for Linnett.

Opportunities

"Ian Henderson has had a great tournament for us and Kane Linnett has been a big strike player for us but it gives opportunities for some of the other players to come in," said McCormack.

With wins over Cook Islands and Wales, the USA are already guaranteed a place in the last eight and an unlikely meeting with Australia.

Terry Matterson's men will be playing their third game in nine days and, as in the build-up to last Sunday's clash with the Welsh, have had the benefit of only one training run.

Matterson is able to stick with the side that beat Wales 24-16 in Wrexham and insists they are not thinking about the quarter-final.

"Our focus is on the Scotland game, we're not getting ahead of ourselves," he said. "There is no talk about what's happening after that."

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