Rugby Union

Alasdair Dickinson ready to embrace Scotland's underdog tag

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Alasdair Dickinson knows Scotland will be written off as no-hopers when they take on Australia but the prop is refusing to bite back at their doubters.

Instead the Edinburgh loosehead insists the Dark Blues will give their response when they run out at Twickenham for Sunday's World Cup quarter-final clash with the Wallabies.

Front-row colleague WP Nel claims the Scots can make a surprise bid for the title, but that is not a view shared by most pundits, who are already speculating on the scale of an Australian victory.

Dickinson took a more cautious approach when asked if he shared his team-mate's confidence but he refused to concede that Vern Cotter's team have already gone as far as they can manage.

He said: "It's a tough question to answer... Cheers WP.

"I'm pretty old school. For me, it's just the next game. When you start thinking too far ahead, you're going to slip up.

"It doesn't bother me that we're being written off though. If you look at it on paper who would think we have a chance? That's just the way it is.

"I wouldn't say anybody is going to say that Scotland are going to win. You might get the odd one putting a tenner on us, chancing his arm.

"Or, no, if he's Scottish it wouldn't be a tenner it would be 50p.

"But there's no point in shouting your mouth off. It's better to go about your business aiming to win.

"I'm pretty sure most of the Australian media will be talking about the semi-final already but for us this is our final. We got through the group which was our first objective.

"Now it's knock-out rugby. Anything can happen. If we go out and put in a performance that we know we have done at times we'll have a real chance."

But Dickinson knows a side which only scraped into the last eight after Saturday's nail-biting 36-33 thriller with tier-two Samoa will have to raise their game by several notches when they take on the two-time former winners.

Australia have already ended England's campaign and claimed top spot in Pool A after seeing off Wales despite being reduced to 13 men at one stage in Saturday's 15-6 win in London.

Dickinson admitted: "They are the form team so far this World Cup. Definitely.

"They were outstanding against England and showed how clinical they can be in that Wales match.

"It's going to be a huge test for us.

"How do we score against a team who've only conceded one try so far? We just have to be confident we can score but we know how difficult it's going to be.

"It seems like they have built a brick wall across their line but we just need to look at what we've done in previous games and see if we can improve.

"There is no doubt we are going to be massive underdogs but we can take confidence from that fact we've got out a pretty tough group to reach the quarter-finals.

"We have nothing to lose. I don't think anybody expects Scotland to win this match.

"But there's no reason why we can't go out there and do something special."

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