England v Scotland, Rugby World Cup, October 1
Balls not an issue for Paterson
ESPNscrum Staff
September 30, 2011

Chris Paterson does not believe that Jonny Wilkinson's goal-kicking will be negatively affected by the controversy surrounding England over the Rugby World Cup balls.

England have suspended kicking coach Dave Alred and fitness specialist Paul Stridgeon for switching balls during last weekend's victory over Romania. Consequently, Alred, Wilkinson's mentor, will not be allowed into Eden Park for Saturday's pivotal World Cup clash with the Scots.

There has been speculation that Wilkinson could struggle as a consequence, but Scotland fullback Paterson feels Alred's absence is pretty insignificant.

"Jonny's kicked for a long time," he said. "He'll understand his own kicking performance better than anyone, so I'm sure he'll be just fine.

"The kicking coach, along with all coaches, do their work throughout the week. I think there is a noticeable transfer to players taking ownership on matchday. I would just go through my normal routine.

"I'm quite lucky. I've worked with Duncan (Hodge, the Scotland kicking coach) and other coaches for a long time and I'd like to think I've built up a wee bit of knowledge myself.

"They're there as a reference, but it would be for me to go to them, rather the coach to approach you on a match day. Hopefully, it wouldn't make too much difference."

While Paterson's goal-kicking has been nowhere near as deadly as it was in France four years ago, he does not believe that the balls are to blame.

"We've trained with the balls since June or July and we get on and train with it," he said. "As long as they stay on the tee I'm trying my best, to be honest."

Meanwhile, Scotland head coach Andy Robinson refused to be drawn on Alred and Stridgeon's antics in Dunedin, insisting that he is solely focused on what is a must-win game for his side.

"We've got to take care of what we're about," he said. "It's a hard enough job for us worrying about what, as opposed to worrying about the opposition and what they're up to. It's about us."

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