Scotland should get a clearer picture tomorrow of who they will face in the 2015 World Cup as the USA and Uruguay begin their battle for the ‘Americas 2’ qualifying spot.
Scotland will face South Africa and Samoa, and two qualifiers –Asia 1 and Americas 2 – in Pool B at the tournament next year.
Barring disaster, the ‘Asia 1’ place will be taken by Japan. The champions of the Asian 5 Nations, which takes place in April and May, earn that place and Japan have comfortably won the tournament every year since it began in 2008. The US are favourites to land the other berth in Scotland’s group as they prepare for the first-leg of their ‘Americas 2’ play-off with Uruguay in Montevideo tomorrow.
The encounter is a repeat of the qualifier for the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand, when the Eagles came through with a 27-22 victory in Uruguay and a 27-6 win at home.
The pair will meet again in the second-leg in Atlanta on 29 March, but the US will be hoping to take a first leg lead.
Head coach Mike Tolkin said: “We want to do the simple things well. We don’t want to beat ourselves. We want to play smart rugby. The important thing is that we want to play a simple, hard, aggressive style. We can’t over complicate things.
“First priority is to win it and then second priority is to do it with a cushion. We know it is going to be hard work.”
• Fixtures for the 2014 Championship, involving New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and Argentina, have been announced.
Week One: 16 Aug (all times BST)
Australia v New Zealand (Sydney, 1105)
South Africa v Argentina (Pretoria, 1605)
Week Two: 23 Aug
New Zealand v Australia (Auckland, 0835)
Argentina v South Africa (Salta, 2010)
Week Three: 6 Sept
New Zealand v Argentina (Napier, 0835)
Australia v South Africa (Perth, 1105)
Week Four: 13 Sept
New Zealand v South Africa (Wellington, 0835)
Australia v Argentina (Gold Coast, 1105)
Week Five: 27 Sept
South Africa v Australia (Cape Town, 1605)
Argentina v New Zealand (La Plata, tbc)
Week Six: 4 Oct
South Africa v New Zealand (Jo’burg, 1605)
Argentina v Australia (Mendoza, 2340).