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Last Updated: Monday, 20 October, 2003, 13:08 GMT 14:08 UK
Danielli marks McGeechan's card

By Jim Stokes
BBC Sport in Australia

Simon Danielli will not forget his World Cup introduction in a hurry.

Whoever plays against France will put their bodies on the line
Simon Danielli

A try with his first touch as a replacement against Japan in the opening Pool B game, then a double against the USA at a warm and sultry Brisbane.

If ever a player sent a message to his coach it was the big Bath winger who put down his marker for inclusion against France.

Danielli is a player who uses his height and strength to good use and his two first-half touchdowns gave Scotland the platform for a 39-15 victory.

Both times the 25-year-old powerhouse came searching for work and his drift from right wing to left enabled him to score.

Born in Scotland, but an English international at age-group levels, Danielli epitomised the energy that Scotland espoused in the first half following their scare in the lethargic 32-11 victory of Japan.

Coach Ian McGeechan was obviously keen to stretch the big Eagles pack who held a massive weight advantage over the Scotland eight.

He will, however, not be terribly pleased with the overall performance, although I still believe that they have a big match in their system.

The Eagles looked a little jaded following their near miss in the energy-sapping one-point defeat against Fiji last Wednesday.

They were forced into too many turnovers and showed little game nous as Scotland pilfered 60% of possession.

They did lead 6-3 for a period, despite the fact that they did not enter the Scotland 22, with Mike Hercus landing two penalties to one by Chris Paterson.

But once Danielli crashed over for his first try in the 20th minute, it was curtains for the Eagles.

The lighter Scottish pack were rampant and rucking as only they can, with Gregor Townsend looking very comfortable in the number 10 jersey.

However, his half-back partner Mike Blair was a tad apprehensive and was replaced by team skipper Bryan Redpath long before the end.

But it was great chasing and pace that saw prop Gavin Kerr charge down a clearance kick by John Buchholz and win the race for the touchdown for his first try for his country.

That helped the Scots to a 24-9 interval lead, although they lost Tom Smith who walked off with a sly grin for a 10-minute spell in the sin-bin after killing the ball when the USA were pressing for a score.

The Eagles, though, got a second wind on the resumption as Scotland just ground out their victory although fundamental errors, poor ball retention and bad communication looked like forfeiting any chance of picking a bonus point.

But Townsend saved their blushes eight minutes from the end when danced his way through, with Patterson grabbing try number four and taking his evening's contribution to 19 points.





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