Scotland 10-6 Ireland, Murrayfield, August 6
Ansbro: Win was paramount
ESPNscrum Staff
August 7, 2011
Scotland centre Joe Ansbro is congratulated after his try, Scotland v Ireland, Rugby World Cup warm-up, Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland, August 6, 2011
Joe Ansbro celebrates his crucial try against Ireland © Getty Images

Joe Ansbro was encouraged after Scotland laboured to victory in their opening Rugby World Cup warm-up fixture, but acknowledged there was much work to be done prior to the tournament in New Zealand.

The London Irish centre was the match-winner on Saturday with a 76th-minute try - his first in seven internationals - as Scotland defeated Ireland 10-6 in the EMC Test at Murrayfield.

Scotland were the more enterprising team against a largely second-string Ireland, but the familiar failing of struggling to convert opportunities was evident until Ansbro cut in off the wing following replacement Nick De Luca's break to score.

"I was confident we'd score one at least," Ansbro said. "We're very optimistic and that shone through. Things didn't always go to plan, but we kept working hard.

"It was the first game, so things weren't always going how we wanted, but I think we built enough momentum to score a try. They didn't look like scoring - that's a big positive - and we did.

"The tries are always there, it's always just one pass away and luckily the pass came my way. We've just got to make sure we take more chances. It is quite satisfying and it's encouraging more than anything. The win was paramount. I think we're all very pleased."

Scotland head coach Andy Robinson, too, was satisfied his charges were able to emerge from a scrappy contest - befitting of the first match of any season - victorious. Scotland next play Italy on August 20, with the World Cup squad named two days later, before the opening Pool B fixture with Romania in Invercargill on September 10 - and that was Robinson's focus.

I'm an optimist," Robinson said. "We're here to win every game. If we go to a World Cup and come through with the mentality that we've had here, with the ability to play as we did and the mindset to actually go out and win the game, then I'll be very happy with that.

"Obviously as a coach and as players you're looking at how you can improve. We'll be looking at how we can make another step up in how we're playing because we're always looking to get better."

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